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Title: Wacousta : a tale of the Pontiac conspiracy — Volume 2
Author: Richardson, Major (John), 1796-1852
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Volume Two of Three


John Richardson


It was on the evening of that day, so fertile in melancholy incident,
to which our first volume has been devoted, that the drawbridge of
Detroit was, for the third time since the investment of the garrison,
lowered; not, as previously, with a disregard of the intimation that
might be given to those without by the sullen and echoing rattle of its
ponderous chains, but with a caution attesting how much secrecy of
purpose was sought to be preserved. There was, however, no array of
armed men within the walls, that denoted an expedition of a hostile
character. Overcome with the harassing duties of the day, the chief
portion of the troops had retired to rest, and a few groups of the
guard alone were to be seen walking up and down in front of their post,
apparently with a view to check the influence of midnight drowsiness,
but, in reality, to witness the result of certain preparations going on
by torchlight in the centre of the barrack square.

In the midst of an anxious group of officers, comprising nearly all of
that rank within the fort, stood two individuals, attired in a costume
having nothing in common with the gay and martial habiliments of the
former. They were tall, handsome young men, whose native elegance of
carriage was but imperfectly hidden under an equipment evidently
adopted for, and otherwise fully answering, the purpose of disguise. A
blue cotton shell jacket, closely fitting to the person, trowsers of
the same material, a pair of strong deer-skin mocassins, and a coloured
handkerchief tied loosely round the collar of a checked shirt, the
whole surmounted by one of those rough blanket coats, elsewhere
described, formed the principal portion of their garb. Each, moreover,
wore a false queue of about nine inches in length, the effect of which
was completely to change the character of the countenance, and lend to
the features a Canadian-like expression. A red worsted cap, resembling
a bonnet de nuit, was thrown carelessly over the side of the head,
which could, at any moment, when deeper disguise should be deemed
necessary, command the additional protection of the rude hood that fell
back upon the shoulders from the collar of the coat to which it was
attached. They were both well armed. Into a broad belt, that encircled
the jacket of each, were thrust a brace of pistols and a strong dagger;
the whole so disposed, however, as to be invisible when the outer
garment was closed: this, again, was confined by a rude sash of worsted
of different colours, not unlike, in texture and quality, what is worn
by our sergeants at the present day. They were otherwise armed,
however, and in a less secret manner. Across the right shoulder of each
was thrown a belt of worsted also, to which were attached a rude powder
horn and shot pouch, with a few straggling bullets, placed there as if
rather by accident than design. Each held carelessly in his left hand,
and with its butt resting on the earth, a long gun; completing an
appearance, the attainment of which had, in all probability, been
sedulously sought,--that of a Canadian duck-hunter.

A metamorphosis so ludicrously operated in the usually elegant costume
of two young English officers,--for such they were,--might have been
expected to afford scope to the pleasantry of their companions, and to
call forth those sallies which the intimacy of friendship and the
freemasonry of the profession would have fully justified. But the
events that had occurred in such rapid succession, since the preceding
midnight, were still painfully impressed on the recollection of all,
and some there were who looked as if they never would smile again;
neither laugh nor jeering, therefore, escaped the lips of one of the
surrounding group. Every countenance wore a cast of thought,--a
character of abstraction, ill suited to the indulgence of levity; and
the little conversation that passed between them was in a low and
serious tone. It was evident some powerful and absorbing dread existed
in the mind of each, inducing him rather to indulge in communion with
his own thoughts and impressions, than to communicate them to others.
Even the governor himself had, for a moment, put off the dignity and
distance of his usually unapproachable nature, to assume an air of
unfeigned concern, and it might be dejection, contrasting strongly with
his habitual haughtiness. Hitherto he had been walking to and fro, a
little apart from the group, and with a hurriedness and indecision of
movement that betrayed to all the extreme agitation of his mind. For
once, however, he appeared to be insensible to observation, or, if not
insensible, indifferent to whatever comments might be formed or
expressed by those who witnessed his undissembled emotion. He was at
length interrupted by the adjutant, who communicated something in a low

"Let him be brought up, Mr. Lawson," was the reply. Then advancing into
the heart of the group, and addressing the two adventurers, he
enquired, in a tone that startled from its singular mildness, "if they
were provided with every thing they required."

An affirmative reply was given, when the governor, taking the taller of
the young men aside, conversed with him earnestly, and in a tone of
affection strangely blended with despondency. The interview, however,
was short, for Mr. Lawson now made his appearance, conducting an
individual who has already been introduced to our readers. It was the
Canadian of the Fleur de lis. The adjutant placed a small wooden
crucifix in the hands of the governor.

"Francois," said the latter, impressively, "you know the terms on which
I have consented to spare your life. Swear, then, by this cross; that
you will be faithful to your trust; that neither treachery nor evasion
shall be practised; and that you will, to the utmost of your power, aid
in conveying these gentlemen to their destination. Kneel and swear it."

"I do swear it!" fervently repeated the aubergiste, kneeling and
imprinting his lips with becoming reverence on the symbol of martyrdom.
"I swear to do dat I shall engage, and may de bon Dieu have mercy to my
soul as I shall fulfil my oat."

"Amen," pronounced the governor, "and may Heaven deal by you even as
you deal by us. Bear in mind, moreover, that as your treachery will be
punished, so also shall your fidelity be rewarded. But the night wears
apace, and ye have much to do." Then turning to the young officers who
were to be his companions,--"God bless you both; may your enterprise be
successful! I fear," offering his hand to the younger, "I have spoken
harshly to you, but at a moment like the present you will no longer
cherish a recollection of the unpleasant past."

The only answer was a cordial return of his own pressure. The Canadian
in his turn now announced the necessity for instant departure, when the
young men, following his example, threw their long guns carelessly over
the left shoulder. Low, rapid, and fervent adieus were uttered on both
sides; and although the hands of the separating parties met only in a
short and hurried grasp, there was an expression in the touch of each
that spoke to their several hearts long after the separation had
actually taken place.

"Stay one moment!" exclaimed a voice, as the little party now moved
towards the gateway; "ye are both gallantly enough provided without,
but have forgotten there is something quite as necessary to sustain the
inward man. Duck shooting, you know, is wet work. The last lips that
were moistened from this," he proceeded, as the younger of the
disguised men threw the strap of the proffered canteen over his
shoulder, "were those of poor Ellen Halloway."

The mention of that name, so heedlessly pronounced by the brave but
inconsiderate Erskine, produced a startling effect on the taller of the
departing officers. He struck his brow violently with his hand, uttered
a faint groan, and bending his head upon his chest, stood in an
attitude expressive of the deep suffering of his mind. The governor,
too, appeared agitated; and sounds like those of suppressed sobs came
from one who lingered at the side of him who had accepted the offer of
the canteen. The remainder of the officers preserved a deep and
mournful silence.

"It is times dat we should start," again observed the Canadian, "or we
shall be taken by de daylight before we can clear de river."

This intimation once more aroused the slumbering energies of the taller
officer. Again he drew up his commanding figure, extended his hand to
the governor in silence, and turning abruptly round, hastened to follow
close in the footsteps of his conductor.

"You will not forget all I have said to you," whispered the voice of
one who had reserved his parting for the last, and who now held the
hand of the younger adventurer closely clasped in his own. "Think, oh,
think how much depends on the event of your dangerous enterprise."

"When you behold me again," was the reply, "it will be with smiles on
my lip and gladness in my heart; for if we fail, there is that within
me, which whispers I shall never see you more. But keep up your
spirits, and hope for the best. We embark under cheerless auspices, it
is true; but let us trust to Providence for success in so good a
cause,--God bless you!"

In the next minute he had joined his companions; who, with light and
noiseless tread, were already pursuing their way along the military
road that led to the eastern extremity of the town. Soon afterwards,
the heavy chains of the drawbridge were heard grating on the ear, in
despite of the evident caution used in restoring it to its wonted
position, and all again was still.

It had at first been suggested their course should be held in an
angular direction across the cleared country alluded to in our last
chapter, in order to avoid all chance of recognition in the town; but
as this might have led them into more dangerous contact with some of
the outlying parties of Indians, who were known to prowl around the
fort at night, this plan had been abandoned for the more circuitous and
safe passage by the village. Through this our little party now pursued
their way, and without encountering aught to impede their progress. The
simple mannered inhabitants had long since retired to rest, and neither
light nor sound denoted the existence of man or beast within its
precincts. At length they reached that part of the road which turned
off abruptly in the direction of the Fleur de lis. The rude hut threw
its dark shadows across their path, but all was still and deathlike as
in the village they had just quitted. Presently, however, as they drew
nearer, they beheld, reflected from one of the upper windows, a faint
light that fell upon the ground immediately in front of the auberge;
and, at intervals, the figure of a human being approaching and receding
from it as if in the act of pacing the apartment.

An instinctive feeling of danger rose at the same moment to the hearts
of the young officers; and each, obeying the same impulse, unfastened
one of the large horn buttons of his blanket coat, and thrust his right
hand into the opening.

"Francois, recollect your oath," hastily aspirated the elder, as he
grasped the hand of their conductor rather in supplication than in
threat; "if there be aught to harm us here, your own life will most
assuredly pay the forfeit of your faith."

"It is noting but a womans," calmly returned the Canadian; "it is my
Babette who is sorry at my loss. But I shall come and tell you

He then stole gently round the corner of the hut, leaving his anxious
companions in the rear of the little building, and completely veiled in
the obscurity produced by the mingling shadows of the hut itself, and a
few tall pear trees that overhung the paling of the orchard at some
yards from the spot on which they stood.

They waited some minutes to hear the result of the Canadian's
admittance into his dwelling; but although each with suppressed
breathing sought to catch those sounds of welcome with which a daughter
might be supposed to greet a parent so unexpectedly restored, they
listened in vain. At length, however, while the ears of both were on
the rack to drink in the tones of a human voice, a faint scream floated
on the hushed air, and all again was still.

"Good!" whispered the elder of the officers; "that scream is sweeter to
my ear than the softest accents of woman's love. It is evident the
ordinary tones of speech cannot find their way to us here from the
front of the hut. The faintness of yon cry, which was unquestionably
that of a female, is a convincing proof of it."

"Hist!" urged his companion, in the same almost inaudible whisper,
"what sound was that?"

Both again listened attentively, when the noise was repeated. It came
from the orchard, and resembled the sound produced by the faint crash
of rotten sticks and leaves under the cautious but unavoidably rending
tread of a human foot. At intervals it ceased, as if the person
treading, alarmed at his own noise, was apprehensive of betraying his
approach; and then recommenced, only to be checked in the same manner.
Finally it ceased altogether.

For upwards of five minutes the young men continued to listen for a
renewal of the sound, but nothing was now audible, save the short and
fitful gusts of a rising wind among the trees of the orchard.

"It must have been some wild animal in search of its prey," again
whispered the younger officer; "had it been a man, we should have heard
him leap the paling before this."

"By Heaven, we are betrayed,--here he is," quickly rejoined the other,
in the same low tone. "Keep close to the hut, and stand behind me. If
my dagger fail, you must try your own. But fire not, on your life,
unless there be more than two, for the report of a pistol will be the
destruction of ourselves and all that are dear to us."

Each with uplifted arm now stood ready to strike, even while his heart
throbbed with a sense of danger, that had far more than the mere dread
of personal suffering or death to stimulate to exertion in
self-defence. Footsteps were now distinctly heard stealing round that
part of the hut which bordered on the road; and the young men turned
from the orchard, to which their attention had previously been
directed, towards the new quarter whence they were intruded upon.

It was fortunate this mode of approach had been selected. That part of
the hut which rested on the road was so exposed as to throw the outline
of objects into strong relief, whereas in the direction of the thickly
wooded orchard all was impenetrable gloom. Had the intruder stolen
unannounced upon the alarmed but determined officers by the latter
route, the dagger of the first would in all probability have been
plunged to its hilt in his bosom. As it was, each had sufficient
presence of mind to distinguish, as it now doubled the corner of the
hut, and reposed upon the road, the stout square-set figure of the
Canadian. The daggers were instantly restored to their sheaths, and
each, for the first time since the departure of their companion,
respired freely.

"It is quite well," whispered the latter as he approached. "It was my
poor Babette, who tought I was gone to be kill. She scream so loud, as
if she had seen my ghost. But we must wait a few minute in de house,
and you shall see how glad my girl is to see me once again."

"Why this delay, Francois? why not start directly?" urged the taller
officer; "we shall never clear the river in time; and if the dawn
catches us in the waters of the Detroit, we are lost for ever."

"But you see I am not quite prepare yet," was the answer. "I have many
tings to get ready for de canoe, which I have not use for a long times.
But you shall not wait ten minute, if you do not like. Dere is a good
fire, and Babette shall give you some ting to eat while I get it all

The young men hesitated. The delay of the Canadian, who had so
repeatedly urged the necessity for expedition while in the fort, had,
to say the least of it, an appearance of incongruity. Still it was
evident, if disposed to harm them, he had full opportunity to do so
without much risk of effectual opposition from themselves. Under all
circumstances, therefore, it was advisable rather to appear to confide
implicitly in his truth, than, by manifesting suspicion, to pique his
self-love, and neutralize whatever favourable intentions he might
cherish in their behalf. In this mode of conduct they were confirmed,
by a recollection of the sacredness attached by the religion of their
conductor to the oath so solemnly pledged on the symbol of the cross,
and by a conviction of the danger of observation to which they stood
exposed, if, as they had apprehended, it was actually a human footstep
they had heard in the orchard. This last recollection suggested a

"We heard a strange sound within the orchard, while waiting here for
your return," said the taller officer; "it was like the footstep of a
man treading cautiously over rotten leaves and branches. How do you
account for it?"

"Oh, it was my pigs," replied the Canadian, without manifesting the
slightest uneasiness at the information. "They run about in de orchard
for de apples what blows down wid de wind."

"It could not be a pig we heard," pursued his questioner; "but another
thing, Francois, before we consent to enter the hut,--how will you
account to your daughter for our presence? and what suspicion may she
not form at seeing two armed strangers in company with you at this
unseasonable hour."

"I have tell her," replied the Canadian, "dat I have bring two friends,
who go wid me in de canoe to shoot de ducks for two tree days. You
know, sir, I go always in de fall to kill de ducks wid my friends, and
she will not tink it strange."

"You have managed well, my brave fellow; and now we follow you in
confidence. But in the name of Heaven, use all possible despatch, and
if money will lend a spur to your actions, you shall have plenty of it
when our enterprise has been accomplished."

Our adventurers followed their conductor in the track by which he had
so recently rejoined them. As they turned the corner of the hut, the
younger, who brought up the rear, fancied he again heard a sound in the
direction of the orchard, resembling that of one lightly leaping to the
ground. A gust of wind, however, passing rapidly at the moment through
the dense foliage, led him to believe it might have been produced by
the sullen fall of one of the heavy fruits it had detached in its
course. Unwilling to excite new and unnecessary suspicion in his
companion, he confined the circumstance to his own breast, and followed
into the hut.

After ascending a flight of about a dozen rude steps, they found
themselves in a small room, furnished with no other ceiling than the
sloping roof itself, and lighted by an unwieldy iron lamp, placed on a
heavy oak table, near the only window with which the apartment was
provided. This latter had suffered much from the influence of time and
tempest; and owing to the difficulty of procuring glass in so remote a
region, had been patched with slips of paper in various parts. The two
corner and lower panes of the bottom sash were out altogether, and pine
shingles, such as are used even at the present day for covering the
roofs of dwelling houses, had been fitted into the squares, excluding
air and light at the same time. The centre pane of this tier was,
however, clear and free from flaw of every description. Opposite to the
window blazed a cheerful wood fire, recently supplied with fuel; and at
one of the inner corners of the room was placed a low uncurtained bed,
that exhibited marks of having been lain in since it was last made. On
a chair at its side were heaped a few dark-looking garments, the
precise nature of which were not distinguishable at a cursory and
distant glance.

Such were the more remarkable features of the apartment into which our
adventurers were now ushered. Both looked cautiously around on
entering, as if expecting to find it tenanted by spirits as daring as
their own; but, with the exception of the daughter of their conductor,
whose moist black eyes expressed, as much by tears as by smiles, the
joy she felt at this unexpected return of her parent, no living object
met their enquiring glance. The Canadian placed a couple of
rush-bottomed chairs near the fire, invited his companions to seat
themselves until he had completed his preparation for departure, and
then, desiring Babette to hasten supper for the young hunters, quitted
the room and descended the stairs.


The position of the young men was one of embarrassment; for while the
daughter, who was busied in executing the command of her father,
remained in the room, it was impossible they could converse together
without betraying the secret of their country, and, as a result of
this, the falsehood of the character under which they appeared. Long
residence in the country had, it is true, rendered the patois of that
class of people whom they personated familiar to one, but the other
spoke only the pure and native language of which it was a corruption.
It might have occurred to them at a cooler moment, and under less
critical circumstances, that, even if their disguise had been
penetrated, it was unlikely a female, manifesting so much lively
affection for her parent, would have done aught to injure those with
whom he had evidently connected himself. But the importance attached to
their entire security from danger left them but little room for
reflections of a calming character, while a doubt of that security

One singularity struck them both. They had expected the young woman,
urged by a natural curiosity, would have commenced a conversation, even
if they did not; and he who spoke the patois was prepared to sustain it
as well as his anxious and overcharged spirit would enable him; and as
he was aware the morning had furnished sufficient incident of fearful
interest, he had naturally looked for a verbal re-enactment of the
harrowing and dreadful scene. To their surprise, however, they both
remarked that, far from evincing a desire to enter into conversation,
the young woman scarcely ever looked at them, but lingered constantly
near the table, and facing the window. Still, to avoid an appearance of
singularity on their own parts as far as possible, the elder of the
officers motioned to his companion, who, following his example, took a
small pipe and some tobacco from a compartment in his shot pouch, and
commenced puffing the wreathing smoke from his lips,--an occupation,
more than any other, seeming to justify their silence.

The elder officer sat with his back to the window, and immediately in
front of the fire; his companion, at a corner of the rude hearth, and
in such a manner that, without turning his head, he could command every
part of the room at a glance. In the corner facing him stood the bed
already described. A faint ray of the fire-light fell on some minute
object glittering in the chair, the contents of which were heaped up in
disorder. Urged by that wayward curiosity, which is sometimes excited,
even under circumstances of the greatest danger and otherwise absorbing
interest, the young man kicked the hickory log that lay nearest to it
with his mocassined foot, and produced a bright crackling flame, the
reflection of which was thrown entirely upon the object of his gaze; it
was a large metal button, on which the number of his regiment was
distinctly visible. Unable to check his desire to know further, he left
his seat, to examine the contents of the chair. As he moved across the
room, he fancied he heard a light sound from without; his companion,
also, seemed to manifest a similar impression by an almost
imperceptible start; but the noise was so momentary, and so fanciful,
neither felt it worth his while to pause upon the circumstance. The
young officer now raised the garments from the chair: they consisted of
a small grey great-coat, and trowsers, a waistcoat of coarse white
cloth, a pair of worsted stockings, and the half-boots of a boy; the
whole forming the drum-boy's equipment, worn by the wretched wife of
Halloway when borne senseless into the hut on that fatal morning.
Hastily quitting a dress that called up so many dreadful recollections,
and turning to his companion with a look that denoted apprehension,
lest he too should have beheld these melancholy remembrances of the
harrowing scene, the young officer hastened to resume his seat. In the
act of so doing, his eye fell upon the window, at which the female
still lingered. Had a blast from Heaven struck his sight, the terror of
his soul could not have been greater. He felt his cheek to pale, and
his hair to bristle beneath his cap, while the checked blood crept
slowly and coldly, as if its very function had been paralysed; still he
had presence of mind sufficient not to falter in his step, or to
betray, by any extraordinary movement, that his eye had rested on any
thing hateful to behold.

His companion had emptied his first pipe, and was in the act of
refilling it, when he resumed his seat. He was evidently impatient at
the delay of the Canadian, and already were his lips opening to give
utterance to his disappointment, when he felt his foot significantly
pressed by that of his friend. An instinctive sense of something
fearful that was to ensue, but still demanding caution on his part,
prevented him from turning hastily round to know the cause. Satisfied,
however, there was danger, though not of an instantaneous character, he
put his pipe gently by, and stealing his hand under his coat, again
grasped the hilt of his dagger. At length he slowly and partially
turned his head, while his eyes inquiringly demanded of his friend the
cause of his alarm.

Partly to aid in concealing his increasing paleness, and partly with a
view to render it a medium for the conveyance of subdued sound, the
hand of the latter was raised to his face in such a manner that the
motion of his lips could not be distinguished from behind.

"We are betrayed," he scarcely breathed. "If you can command yourself,
turn and look at the window; but for God's sake arm yourself with
resolution, or look not at all: first draw the hood over your head, and
without any appearance of design. Our only chance of safety lies in
this,--that the Canadian may still be true, and that our disguise may
not be penetrated."

In despite of his native courage,--and this had often been put to
honourable proof,--he, thus mysteriously addressed, felt his heart to
throb violently. There was something so appalled in the countenance of
his friend--something so alarming in the very caution he had
recommended--that a vague dread of the horrible reality rushed at once
to his mind, and for a moment his own cheek became ashy pale, and his
breathing painfully oppressed. It was the natural weakness of the
physical man, over which the moral faculties had, for an instant, lost
their directing power. Speedily recovering himself, the young man
prepared to encounter the alarming object which had already so greatly
intimidated his friend. Carefully drawing the blanket hood over his
head, he rose from his seat, and, with the energetic movement of one
who has formed some desperate determination, turned his back to the
fire-place, and threw his eyes rapidly and eagerly upon the window.
They fell only on the rude patchwork of which it was principally
composed. The female had quitted the room.

"You must have been deceived," he whispered, keeping his eye still bent
upon the window, and with so imperceptible a movement of the lips that
sound alone could have betrayed he was speaking,--"I see nothing to
justify your alarm. Look again."

The younger officer once more directed his glance towards the window,
and with a shuddering of the whole person, as he recollected what had
met his eye when he last looked upon it. "It is no longer there,
indeed," he returned in the same scarcely audible tone. "Yet I could
not be mistaken; it was between those two corner squares of wood in the
lower sash."

"Perhaps it was merely a reflection produced by the lamp on the centre
pane," rejoined his friend, still keeping his eye riveted on the
suspicious point.

"Impossible! but I will examine the window from the spot on which I
stood when I first beheld it."

Again he quitted his seat, and carelessly crossed the room. As he
returned he threw his glance upon the pane, when, to his infinite
horror and surprise, the same frightful vision presented itself.

"God of Heaven!" he exclaimed aloud, and unable longer to check the
ebullition of his feelings,--"what means this?--Is my brain turned? and
am I the sport of my own delusive fancy?--Do you not see it NOW?"

No answer was returned. His friend stood mute and motionless, with his
left hand grasping his gun, and his right thrust into the waist of his
coat. His eye grew upon the window, and his chest heaved, and his cheek
paled and flushed alternately with the subdued emotion of his heart. A
human face was placed close to the unblemished glass, and every feature
was distinctly revealed by the lamp that still lay upon the table. The
glaring eye was fixed on the taller of the officers; but though the
expression was unfathomably guileful, there was nothing that denoted
any thing like a recognition of the party. The brightness of the wood
fire had so far subsided as to throw the interior of the room into
partial obscurity, and under the disguise of his hood it was impossible
for one without to distinguish the features of the taller officer. The
younger, who was scarcely an object of attention, passed comparatively

Fatigued and dimmed with the long and eager tension of its nerves, the
eye of the latter now began to fail him. For a moment he closed it; and
when again it fell upon the window; it encountered nothing but the
clear and glittering pane. For upwards of a minute he and his friend
still continued to rivet their gaze, but the face was no longer visible.

Why is it that what is called the "human face divine" is sometimes
gifted with a power to paralyse, that the most loathsome reptile in the
creation cannot attain? Had a hyena or cougar of the American forest,
roaring for prey, appeared at that window, ready to burst the fragile
barrier, and fasten its talons in their hearts, its presence would not
have struck such sickness to the soul of our adventurers as did that
human face. It is that man, naturally fierce and inexorable, is alone
the enemy of his own species. The solution of this problem--this
glorious paradox in nature, we leave to profounder philosophers to
resolve. Sufficient for us be it to know, and to deplore that it is so.

Footsteps were now heard upon the stairs; and the officers, aroused to
a full sense of their danger, hastily and silently prepared themselves
for the encounter.

"Drop a bullet into your gun," whispered the elder, setting the example
himself. "We may be obliged to have recourse to it at last. Yet make no
show of hostility unless circumstances satisfy us we are betrayed;
then, indeed, all that remains for us will be to sell our lives as
dearly as we can. Hist! he is here."

The door opened; and at the entrance, which was already filled up in
the imaginations of the young men with a terrible and alarming figure,
appeared one whose return had been anxiously and long desired. It was a
relief, indeed, to their gallant but excited hearts to behold another
than the form they had expected; and although, for the moment, they
knew not whether the Canadian came in hostility or in friendship, each
quitted the attitude of caution into which he had thrown himself, and
met him midway in his passage through the room. There was nothing in
the expression of his naturally open and good-humoured countenance to
denote he was at all aware of the causes for alarm that had operated so
powerfully on themselves. He announced with a frank look and
unfaltering voice every thing was in readiness for their departure.

The officers hesitated; and the taller fixed his eyes upon those of
mine host, as if his gaze would have penetrated to the innermost
recesses of his heart. Could this be a refinement of his treachery? and
was he really ignorant of the existence of the danger which threatened
them? Was it not more probable his object was to disarm their fears,
that they might be given unprepared and, therefore, unresisting victims
to the ferocity of their enemies? Aware as he was, that they were both
well provided with arms, and fully determined to use them with effect,
might not his aim be to decoy them to destruction without, lest the
blood spilt under his roof, in the desperation of their defence, should
hereafter attest against him, and expose him to the punishment he would
so richly merit? Distracted by these doubts, the young men scarcely
knew what to think or how to act; and anxious as they had previously
been to quit the hut, they now considered the moment of their doing so
would be that of their destruction. The importance of the enterprise on
which they were embarked was such as to sink all personal
considerations. If they had felt the influence of intimidation on their
spirits, it arose less from any apprehension of consequences to
themselves, than from the recollection of the dearer interests involved
in their perfect security from discovery.

"Francois," feelingly urged the taller officer, again adverting to his
vow, "you recollect the oath you so solemnly pledged upon the cross of
your Saviour. Tell me, then, as you hope for mercy, have you taken that
oath only that you might the more securely betray us to our enemies?
What connection have you with them at this moment? and who is HE who
stood looking through that window not ten minutes since?"

"As I shall hope for mercy in my God," exclaimed the Canadian with
unfeigned astonishment, "I have not see nobody. But what for do you
tink so? It is not just. I have given my oat to serve you, and I shall
do it."

There was candour both in the tone and countenance of the man as he
uttered these words, half in reproach, half in justification; and the
officers no longer doubted.

"You must forgive our suspicions at a moment like the present,"
soothingly observed the younger; "yet, Francois, your daughter saw and
exchanged signals with the person we mean. She left the room soon after
he made his appearance. What has become of her?"

The Canadian gave a sudden start, looked hastily round, and seemed to
perceive for the first time the girl was absent. He then put a finger
to his lip to enjoin silence, advanced to the table, and extinguished
the light. Desiring his companions, in a low whisper, to tread
cautiously and follow, he now led the way with almost noiseless step to
the entrance of the hut. At the threshold of the door were placed a
large well-filled sack, a light mast and sail, and half a dozen
paddles. The latter burden he divided between the officers, on whose
shoulders he carefully balanced them. The sack he threw across his own;
and, without expressing even a regret that an opportunity of bidding
adieu to his child was denied him, hastily skirted the paling of the
orchard until, at the further extremity, he had gained the high road.

The heavens were obscured by passing clouds driven rapidly by the wind,
during the short pauses of which our adventurers anxiously and
frequently turned to listen if they were pursued. Save the rustling of
the trees that lined the road, and the slight dashing of the waters on
the beach, however, no sound was distinguishable. At length they gained
the point whence they were to start. It was the fatal bridge, the
events connected with which were yet so painfully fresh in their

"Stop one minutes here," whispered the Canadian, throwing his sack upon
the sand near the mouth of the lesser river; "my canoe is chain about
twenty yards up de bridge. I shall come to you directly." Then
cautioning the officers to keep themselves concealed under the bridge,
he moved hastily under the arch, and disappeared in the dark shadow
which it threw across the rivulet.

The extremities of the bridge rested on the banks of the little river
in such a manner as to leave a narrow passage along the sands
immediately under the declination of the arch. In accordance with the
caution of their conductor, the officers had placed themselves under
it; and with their backs slightly bent forward to meet the curvature of
the bridge, so that no ray of light could pass between their bodies and
the fabric itself, now awaited the arrival of the vessel on which their
only hope depended. We shall not attempt to describe their feelings on
finding themselves, at that lone hour of the night, immediately under a
spot rendered fearfully memorable by the tragic occurrences of the
morning. The terrible pursuit of the fugitive, the execution of the
soldier, the curse and prophecy of his maniac wife, and, above all, the
forcible abduction and threatened espousal of that unhappy woman by the
formidable being who seemed to have identified himself with the evils
with which they stood menaced,--all rushed with rapid tracery on the
mind, and excited the imagination, until each, filled with a sentiment
not unallied to superstitious awe, feared to whisper forth his
thoughts, lest in so doing he should invoke the presence of those who
had principally figured in the harrowing and revolting scene.

"Did you not hear a noise?" at length whispered the elder, as he leaned
himself forward, and bent his head to the sand, to catch more
distinctly a repetition of the sound.

"I did; there again! It is upon the bridge, and not unlike the step of
one endeavouring to tread lightly. It may be some wild beast, however."

"We must not be taken by surprise," returned his companion. "If it be a
man, the wary tread indicates consciousness of our presence. If an
animal, there can be no harm in setting our fears at rest."

Cautiously stealing from his lurking-place, the young officer emerged
into the open sands, and in a few measured noiseless strides gained the
extremity of the bridge. The dark shadow of something upon its centre
caught his eye, and a low sound like that of a dog lapping met his ear.
While his gaze yet lingered on the shapeless object, endeavouring to
give it a character, the clouds which had so long obscured it passed
momentarily from before the moon, and disclosed the appalling truth. It
was a wolf-dog lapping up from the earth, in which they were encrusted,
the blood and brains of the unfortunate Frank Halloway.

Sick and faint at the disgusting sight, the young man rested his elbow
on the railing that passed along the edge of the bridge, and, leaning
his head on his hand for a moment, forgot the risk of exposure he
incurred, in the intenseness of the sorrow that assailed his soul. His
heart and imagination were already far from the spot on which he stood,
when he felt an iron hand upon his shoulder. He turned, shuddering with
an instinctive knowledge of his yet unseen visitant, and beheld
standing over him the terrible warrior of the Fleur de lis.

"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed the savage in a low triumphant tone, "the place
of our meeting is well timed, though somewhat singular, it must be
confessed. Nay," he fiercely added, grasping as in a vice the arm that
was already lifted to strike him, "force me not to annihilate you on
the spot. Ha! hear you the cry of my wolf-dog?" as that animal now set
up a low but fearful howl; "it is for your blood he asks, but your hour
is not yet come."

"No, by Heaven, is it not!" exclaimed a voice; a rapid and rushing
sweep was heard through the air for an instant, and then a report like
a stunning blow. The warrior released his grasp--placed his hand upon
his tomahawk, but without strength to remove it from his belt tottered
a pace or two backwards--and then fell, uttering a cry of mingled pain
and disappointment, at his length upon the earth.

"Quick, quick to our cover!" exclaimed the younger officer, as a loud
shout was now heard from the forest in reply to the yell of the fallen
warrior. "If Francois come not, we are lost; the howl of that wolf-dog
alone will betray us, even if his master should be beyond all chance of

"Desperate diseases require desperate remedies," was the reply; "there
is little glory in destroying a helpless enemy, but the necessity is
urgent, and we must leave nothing to chance." As he spoke, he knelt
upon the huge form of the senseless warrior, whose scalping knife he
drew from its sheath, and striking a firm and steady blow, quitted not
the weapon until he felt his hand reposing on the chest of his enemy.

The howl of the wolf-dog, whose eyes glared like two burning coals
through the surrounding gloom, was now exchanged to a fierce and
snappish bark. He made a leap at the officer while in the act of rising
from the body; but his fangs fastened only in the chest of the shaggy
coat, which he wrung with the strength and fury characteristic of his
peculiar species. This new and ferocious attack was fraught with danger
little inferior to that which they had just escaped, and required the
utmost promptitude of action. The young man seized the brute behind the
neck in a firm and vigorous grasp, while he stooped upon the motionless
form over which this novel struggle was maintained, and succeeded in
making himself once more master of the scalping knife. Half choked by
the hand that unflinchingly grappled with him, the savage animal
quitted his hold and struggled violently to free himself. This was the
critical moment. The officer drew the heavy sharp blade, from the
handle to the point, across the throat of the infuriated beast, with a
force that divided the principal artery. He made a desperate leap
upwards, spouting his blood over his destroyer, and then fell gasping
across the body of his master. A low growl, intermingled with faint
attempts to bark, which the rapidly oozing life rendered more and more
indistinct, succeeded; and at length nothing but a gurgling sound was

Meanwhile the anxious and harassed officers had regained their place of
concealment under the bridge, where they listened with suppressed
breathing for the slightest sound to indicate the approach of the
canoe. At intervals they fancied they could hear a noise resembling the
rippling of water against the prow of a light vessel, but the swelling
cries of the rushing band, becoming at every instant more distinct,
were too unceasingly kept up to admit of their judging with accuracy.

They now began to give themselves up for lost, and many and bitter were
the curses they inwardly bestowed on the Canadian, when the outline of
a human form was seen advancing along the sands, and a dark object upon
the water. It was their conductor, dragging the canoe along, with all
the strength and activity of which he was capable.

"What the devil have you been about all this time, Francois?" exclaimed
the taller officer, as he bounded to meet him. "Quick, quick, or we
shall be too late. Hear you not the blood-hounds on their scent?" Then
seizing the chain in his hand, with a powerful effort he sent the canoe
flying through the arch to the very entrance of the river. The burdens
that had been deposited on the sands were hastily flung in, the
officers stepping lightly after. The Canadian took the helm, directing
the frail vessel almost noiselessly through the water, and with such
velocity, that when the cry of the disappointed savages was heard
resounding from the bridge, it had already gained the centre of the


Two days had succeeded to the departure of the officers from the fort,
but unproductive of any event of importance. About daybreak, however,
on the morning of the third, the harassed garrison were once more
summoned to arms, by an alarm from the sentinels planted in rear of the
works; a body of Indians they had traced and lost at intervals, as they
wound along the skirt of the forest, in their progress from their
encampment, were at length developing themselves in force near the bomb
proof. With a readiness which long experience and watchfulness had
rendered in some degree habitual to them, the troops flew to their
respective posts; while a few of the senior officers, among whom was
the governor, hastened to the ramparts to reconnoitre the strength and
purpose of their enemies. It was evident the views of these latter were
not immediately hostile; for neither were they in their war paint, nor
were their arms of a description to carry intimidation to a disciplined
and fortified soldiery. Bows, arrows, tomahawks, war clubs, spears, and
scalping knives, constituted their warlike equipments, but neither
rifle nor fire-arms of any kind were discernible. Several of their
leaders, distinguishable by a certain haughty carriage and commanding
gesticulation, were collected within the elevated bomb-proof,
apparently holding a short but important conference apart from their
people, most of whom stood or lay in picturesque attitudes around the
ruin. These also had a directing spirit. A tall and noble looking
warrior, wearing a deer-skin hunting frock closely girded around his
loins, appeared to command the deference of his colleagues, claiming
profound attention when he spoke himself, and manifesting his assent or
dissent to the apparently expressed opinions of the lesser chiefs
merely by a slight movement of the head.

"There he is indeed!" exclaimed Captain Erskine, speaking as one who
communes with his own thoughts, while he kept his telescope levelled on
the form of the last warrior; "looking just as noble as when, three
years ago, he opposed himself to the progress of the first English
detachment that had ever penetrated to this part of the world. What a
pity such a fine fellow should be so desperate and determined an enemy!"

"True; you were with Major Rogers on that expedition," observed the
governor, in a tone now completely divested of the haughtiness which
formerly characterised his address to his officers. "I have often heard
him speak of it. You had many difficulties to contend against, if I

"We had indeed, sir," returned the frank-hearted Erskine, dropping the
glass from his eye. "So many, in fact, that more than once, in the
course of our progress through the wilderness, did I wish myself at
head-quarters with my company. Never shall I forget the proud and
determined expression of Ponteac's countenance, when he told Rogers, in
his figurative language, 'he stood in the path in which he travelled.'"

"Thank Heaven, he at least stands not in the path in which OTHERS
travel," musingly rejoined the governor. "But what sudden movement is
that within the ruin?"

"The Indians are preparing to show a white flag," shouted an
artillery-man from his station in one of the embrasures below.

The governor and his officers received this intelligence without
surprise: the former took the glass from Captain Erskine, and coolly
raised it to his eye. The consultation had ceased; and the several
chiefs, with the exception of their leader and two others, were now
seen quitting the bomb-proof to join their respective tribes. One of
those who remained, sprang upon an elevated fragment of the ruin, and
uttered a prolonged cry, the purport of which,--and it was fully
understood from its peculiar nature,--was to claim attention from the
fort. He then received from the hands of the other chief a long spear,
to the end of which was attached a piece of white linen. This he waved
several times above his head; then stuck the barb of the spear firmly
into the projecting fragment. Quitting his elevated station, he next
stood at the side of the Ottawa chief, who had already assumed the air
and attitude of one waiting to observe in what manner his signal would
be received.

"A flag of truce in all its bearings, by Jupiter!" remarked Captain
Erskine. "Ponteac seems to have acquired a few lessons since we first

"This is evidently the suggestion of some European," observed Major
Blackwater; "for how should he understand any thing of the nature of a
white flag? Some of those vile spies have put him up to this."

"True enough, Blackwater; and they appear to have found an intelligent
pupil," observed Captain Wentworth. "I was curious to know how he would
make the attempt to approach us; but certainly never once dreamt of his
having recourse to so civilised a method. Their plot works well, no
doubt; still we have the counter-plot to oppose to it."

"We must foil them with their own weapons," remarked the governor,
"even if it be only with a view to gain time. Wentworth, desire one of
your bombardiers to hoist the large French flag on the staff."

The order was promptly obeyed. The Indians made a simultaneous movement
expressive of their satisfaction; and in the course of a minute, the
tall warrior, accompanied by nearly a dozen inferior chiefs, was seen
slowly advancing across the common, towards the group of officers.

"What generous confidence the fellow has, for an Indian!" observed
Captain Erskine, who could not dissemble his admiration of the warrior.
"He steps as firmly and as proudly within reach of our muskets, as if
he was leading in the war-dance."

"How strange," mused Captain Blessington, "that one who meditates so
deep a treachery, should have no apprehension of it in others!"

"It is a compliment to the honour of our flag," observed the governor,
"which it must be our interest to encourage. If, as you say, Erskine,
the man is really endowed with generosity, the result of this affair
will assuredly call it forth."

"If it prove otherwise, sir," was the reply, "we must only attribute
his perseverance to the influence which that terrible warrior of the
Fleur de lis is said to exercise over his better feelings. By the by, I
see nothing of him among this flag of truce party. It could scarcely be
called a violation of faith to cut off such a rascally renegade. Were
he of the number of those advancing, and Valletort's rifle within my
reach, I know not what use I might not be tempted to make of the last."

Poor Erskine was singularly infelicitous in touching, and ever
unconsciously, on a subject sure to give pain to more than one of his
brother officers. A cloud passed over the brow of the governor, but it
was one that originated more in sorrow than in anger. Neither had he
time to linger on the painful recollections hastily and confusedly
called up by the allusion made to this formidable and mysterious being,
for the attention of all was now absorbed by the approaching Indians.
With a bold and confiding carriage the fierce Ponteac moved at the head
of his little party, nor hesitated one moment in his course, until he
got near the brink of the ditch, and stood face to face with the
governor, at a distance that gave both parties not only the facility of
tracing the expression of each other's features, but of conversing
without effort. There he made a sudden stand, and thrusting his spear
into the earth, assumed an attitude as devoid of apprehension as if he
had been in the heart of his own encampment.

"My father has understood my sign," said the haughty chief. "The
warriors of a dozen tribes are far behind the path the Ottawa has just
travelled; but when the red skin comes unarmed, the hand of the Saganaw
is tied behind his back."

"The strong hold of the Saganaw is his safeguard," replied the
governor, adopting the language of the Indian. "When the enemies of his
great father come in strength, he knows how to disperse them; but when
a warrior throws himself unarmed into his power, he respects his
confidence, and his arms hang rusting at his side."

"The talk of my father is big," replied the warrior, with a scornful
expression that seemed to doubt the fact of so much indifference as to
himself; "but when it is a great chief who directs the nations, and
that chief his sworn enemy, the temptation to the Saganaw may be

"The Saganaw is without fear," emphatically rejoined the governor; "he
is strong in his own honour; and he would rather die under the tomahawk
of the red skin, than procure a peace by an act of treachery."

The Indian paused; cold, calm looks of intelligence passed between him
and his followers, and a few indistinct and guttural sentences were
exchanged among themselves.

"But our father asks not why our mocassins have brushed the dew from
off the common," resumed the chief; "and yet it is long since the
Saganaw and the red skin have spoken to each other, except through the
war whoop. My father must wonder to see the great chief of the Ottawas
without the hatchet in his hand."

"The hatchet often wounds those who use it unskilfully," calmly
returned the governor. "The Saganaw is not blind. The Ottawas, and the
other tribes, find the war paint heavy on their skins. They see that my
young men are not to be conquered, and they have sent the great head of
all the nations to sue for peace."

In spite of the habitual reserve and self-possession of his race, the
haughty warrior could not repress a movement of impatience at the bold
and taunting language of his enemy, and for a moment there was a fire
in his eye that told how willingly he would have washed away the insult
in his blood. The same low guttural exclamations that had previously
escaped their lips, marked the sense entertained of the remark by his

"My father is right," pursued the chief, resuming his self-command;
"the Ottawas, and the other tribes, ask for peace, but not because they
are afraid of war. When they strike the hatchet into the war post, they
leave it there until their enemies ask them to take it out."

"Why come they now, then, to ask for peace?" was the cool demand.

The warrior hesitated, evidently at a loss to give a reply that could
reconcile the palpable contradiction of his words.

"The rich furs of our forests have become many," he at length observed,
"since we first took up the hatchet against the Saganaw; and every
bullet we keep for our enemies is a loss to our trade. We once
exchanged furs with the children of our father of the pale flag. They
gave us, in return, guns, blankets, powder, ball, and all that the red
man requires in the hunting season. These are all expended; and my
young men would deal with the Saganaw as they did with the French."

"Good; the red skins would make peace; and although the arm of the
Saganaw is strong, he will not turn a deaf ear to their desire."

"All the strong holds of the Saganaw, except two, have fallen before
the great chief of the Ottawas!" proudly returned the Indian, with a
look of mingled scorn and defiance. "They, too, thought themselves
beyond the reach of our tomahawks; but they were deceived. In less than
a single moon nine of them have fallen, and the tents of my young
warriors are darkened with their scalps; but this is past. If the red
skin asks for peace, it is because he is tired of seeing the blood of
the Saganaw on his tomahawk. Does my father hear?"

"We will listen to the great chief of the Ottawas, and hear what he has
to say," returned the governor, who, as well as the officers at his
side, could with difficulty conceal their disgust and sorrow at the
dreadful intelligence thus imparted of the fates of their companions.
"But peace," he pursued with dignity, "can only be made in the council
room, and under the sacred pledge of the calumet. The great chief has a
wampum belt on his shoulder, and a calumet in his hand. His aged
warriors, too, are at his side. What says the Ottawa? Will he enter? If
so, the gate of the Saganaw shall be open to him."

The warrior started; and for a moment the confidence that had hitherto
distinguished him seemed to give place to an apprehension of meditated
treachery. He, however, speedily recovered himself, and observed
emphatically, "It is the great head of all the nations whom my father
invites to the council seat. Were he to remain in the hands of the
Saganaw, his young men would lose their strength. They would bury the
hatchet for ever in despair, and hide their faces in the laps of their

"Does the Ottawa chief see the pale flag on the strong hold of his
enemies. While that continues to fly, he is safe as if he were under
the cover of his own wigwam. If the Saganaw could use guile like the
fox" (and this was said with marked emphasis), "what should prevent him
from cutting off the Ottawa and his chiefs, even where they now stand?"

A half smile of derision passed over the dark cheek of the Indian. "If
the arm of an Ottawa is strong," he said, "his foot is not less swift.
The short guns of the chiefs of the Saganaw" (pointing to the pistols
of the officers) "could not reach us; and before the voice of our
father could be raised, or his eye turned, to call his warriors to his
side, the Ottawa would be already far on his way to the forest."

"The great chief of the Ottawas shall judge better of the Saganaw,"
returned the governor.--"He shall see that his young men are ever
watchful at their posts:--Up, men, and show yourselves."

A second or two sufficed to bring the whole, of Captain Erskine's
company, who had been lying flat on their faces, to their feet on the
rampart. The Indians were evidently taken by surprise, though they
evinced no fear. The low and guttural "Ugh!" was the only expression
they gave to their astonishment, not unmingled with admiration.

But, although the chiefs preserved their presence of mind, the sudden
appearance of the soldiers had excited alarm among their warriors, who,
grouped in and around the bomb-proof, were watching every movement of
the conferring parties, with an interest proportioned to the risk they
conceived their head men had incurred in venturing under the very walls
of their enemies. Fierce yells were uttered; and more than a hundred
dusky warriors, brandishing their tomahawks in air, leaped along the
skirt of the common, evidently only awaiting the signal of their great
chief, to advance and cover his retreat. At the command of the
governor, however, the men had again suddenly disappeared from the
surface of the rampart; so that when the Indians finally perceived
their leader stood unharmed and unmolested, on the spot he had
previously occupied, the excitement died away, and they once more
assumed their attitude of profound attention.

"What thinks the great chief of the Ottawas now?" asked the
governor;--"did he imagine that the young white men lie sleeping like
beavers in their dams, when the hunter sets his traps to catch
them?--did he imagine that they foresee not the designs of their
enemies? and that they are not always on the watch to prevent them?"

"My father is a great warrior," returned the Indian; "and if his arm is
full of strength, his head is fall of wisdom. The chiefs will no longer
hesitate;--they will enter the strong hold of the Saganaw, and sit with
him in the council."

He next addressed a few words, and in a language not understood by
those upon the walls, to one of the younger of the Indians. The latter
acknowledged his sense and approbation of what was said to him by an
assentient and expressive "Ugh!" which came from his chest without any
apparent emotion of the lips, much in the manner of a modern
ventriloquist. He then hastened, with rapid and lengthened boundings,
across the common towards his band. After the lapse of a minute or two
from reaching them, another simultaneous cry arose, differing in
expression from any that had hitherto been heard. It was one denoting
submission to the will, and compliance with some conveyed desire, of
their superior.

"Is the gate of the Saganaw open?" asked the latter, as soon as his ear
had been greeted with the cry we have just named. "The Ottawa and the
other great chiefs are ready;--their hearts are bold, and they throw
themselves into the hands of the Saganaw without fear."

"The Ottawa chief knows the path," drily rejoined the governor: "when
he comes in peace, it is ever open to him; but when his young men press
it with the tomahawk in their hands, the big thunder is roused to
anger, and they are scattered away like the leaves of the forest in the
storm." "Even now," he pursued, as the little band of Indians moved
slowly round the walls, "the gate of the Saganaw opens for the Ottawa
and the other chiefs."

"Let the most vigilant caution be used every where along the works, but
especially in the rear," continued the governor, addressing Captain
Blessington, on whom the duty of the day had devolved. "We are safe,
while their chiefs are with us; but still it will be necessary to watch
the forest closely. We cannot be too much on our guard. The men had
better remain concealed, every twentieth file only standing up to form
a look-out chain. If any movement of a suspicious nature be observed,
let it be communicated by the discharge of a single musket, that the
drawbridge may be raised on the instant." With the delivery of these
brief instructions he quitted the rampart with the majority of his

Meanwhile, hasty preparations had been made in the mess-room to receive
the chiefs. The tables had been removed, and a number of clean rush
mats, manufactured, after the Indian manner, into various figures and
devices, spread carefully upon the floor. At the further end from the
entrance was placed a small table and chair, covered with scarlet
cloth. This was considerably elevated above the surface of the floor,
and intended for the governor. On either side of the room, near these,
were ranged a number of chairs for the accommodation of the inferior

Major Blackwater received the chiefs at the gate. With a firm, proud
step, rendered more confident by his very unwillingness to betray any
thing like fear, the tall, and, as Captain Erskine had justly
designated him, the noble-looking Ponteac trod the yielding planks that
might in the next moment cut him off from his people for ever. The
other chiefs, following the example of their leader, evinced the same
easy fearlessness of demeanour, nor glanced once behind them to see if
there was any thing to justify the apprehension of hidden danger.

The Ottawa was evidently mortified at not being received by the
governor in person. "My father is not here!" he said fiercely to the
major:--"how is this? The Ottawa and the other chiefs are kings of all
their tribes. The head of one great people should be received only by
the head of another great people!"

"Our father sits in the council-hall," returned the major. "He has
taken his seat, that he may receive the warriors with becoming honour.
But I am the second chief, and our father has sent me to receive them."

To the proud spirit of the Indian this explanation scarcely sufficed.
For a moment he seemed to struggle, as if endeavouring to stifle his
keen sense of an affront put upon him. At length he nodded his head
haughtily and condescendingly, in token of assent; and gathering up his
noble form, and swelling out his chest, as if with a view to strike
terror as well as admiration into the hearts of those by whom he
expected to be surrounded, stalked majestically forward at the head of
his confederates.

An indifferent observer, or one ignorant of these people, would have
been at fault; but those who understood the workings of an Indian's
spirit could not have been deceived by the tranquil exterior of these
men. The rapid, keen, and lively glance--the suppressed sneer of
exultation--the half start of surprise--the low, guttural, and almost
inaudible "Ugh!"--all these indicated the eagerness with which, at one
sly but compendious view, they embraced the whole interior of a fort
which it was of such vital importance to their future interests they
should become possessed of, yet which they had so long and so
unsuccessfully attempted to subdue. As they advanced into the square,
they looked around, expecting to behold the full array of their
enemies; but, to their astonishment, not a soldier was to be seen. A
few women and children only, in whom curiosity had overcome a natural
loathing and repugnance to the savages, were peeping from the windows
of the block houses. Even at a moment like the present, the fierce
instinct of these latter was not to be controlled. One of the children,
terrified at the wild appearance of the warriors, screamed violently,
and clung to the bosom of its mother for protection. Fired at the
sound, a young chief raised his hand to his lips, and was about to peal
forth his terrible war whoop in the very centre of the fort, when the
eye of the Ottawa suddenly arrested him.


There were few forms of courtesy observed by the warriors towards the
English officers on entering the council room. Ponteac, who had
collected all his native haughtiness into one proud expression of look
and figure, strode in without taking the slightest notice even of the
governor. The other chiefs imitated his example, and all took their
seats upon the matting in the order prescribed by their rank among the
tribes, and their experience in council. The Ottawa chief sat at the
near extremity of the room, and immediately facing the governor. A
profound silence was observed for some minutes after the Indians had
seated themselves, during which they proceeded to fill their pipes. The
handle of that of the Ottawa chief was decorated with numerous feathers
fancifully disposed.

"This is well," at length observed the governor. "It is long since the
great chiefs of the nations have smoked the sweet grass in the council
hall of the Saganaw. What have they to say, that their young men may
have peace to hunt the beaver, and to leave the print of their
mocassins in the country of the Buffalo?--What says the Ottawa chief?"

"The Ottawa chief is a great warrior," returned the other, haughtily;
and again repudiating, in the indomitableness of his pride, the very
views that a more artful policy had first led him to avow. "He has
already said that, within a single moon, nine of the strong holds of
the Saganaw have fallen into his hands, and that the scalps of the
white men fill the tents of his warriors. If the red skins wish for
peace, it is because they are sick with spilling the blood of their
enemies. Does my father hear?"

"The Ottawa has been cunning, like the fox," calmly returned the
governor. "He went with deceit upon his lips, and said to the great
chiefs of the strong holds of the Saganaw,--'You have no more forts
upon the lakes; they have all fallen before the red skins: they gave
themselves into our hands; and we spared their lives, and sent them
down to the great towns near the salt lake.' But this was false: the
chiefs of the Saganaw, believing what was said to them, gave up their
strong holds; but their lives were not spared, and the grass of the
Canadas is yet moist with their blood. Does the Ottawa hear?"

Amazement and stupefaction sat for a moment on the features of the
Indians. The fact was as had been stated; and yet, so completely had
the several forts been cut off from all communication, it was deemed
almost impossible one could have received tidings of the fate of the
other, unless conveyed through the Indians themselves.

"The spies of the Saganaw have been very quick to escape the vigilance
of the red skins," at length replied the Ottawa; "yet they have
returned with a lie upon their lips. I swear by the Great Spirit, that
nine of the strong holds of the Saganaw have been destroyed. How could
the Ottawa go with deceit upon his lips, when his words were truth?"

"When the red skins said so to the warriors of the last forts they
took, they said true; but when they went to the first, and said that
all the rest had fallen, they used deceit. A great nation should
overcome their enemies like warriors, and not seek to beguile them with
their tongues under the edge of the scalping knife!"

"Why did the Saganaw come into the country of the red skins?" haughtily
demanded the chief. "Why did they take our hunting grounds from us? Why
have they strong places encircling the country of the Indians, like a
belt of wampum round the waist of a warrior?"

"This is not true," rejoined the governor. "It was not the Saganaw, but
the warriors of the pale flag, who first came and took away the hunting
grounds, and built the strong places. The great father of the Saganaw
had beaten the great father of the pale flag quite out of the Canadas,
and he sent his young men to take their place and to make peace with
the red skins, and to trade with them, and to call them brothers."

"The Saganaw was false," retorted the Indian. "When a chief of the
Saganaw came for the first time with his warriors into the country of
the Ottawas, the chief of the Ottawas stood in his path, and asked him
why, and from whom, he came? That chief was a bold warrior, and his
heart was open, and the Ottawa liked him; and when he said he came to
be friendly with the red skins, the Ottawa believed him, and he shook
him by the hand, and said to his young men, 'Touch not the life of a
Saganaw; for their chief is the friend of the Ottawa chief, and his
young men shall be the friends of the red warriors.' Look," he
proceeded, marking his sense of the discovery by another of those
ejaculatory "Ughs!" so expressive of surprise in an Indian, "at the
right hand of my father I see a chief," pointing to Captain Erskine,
"who came with those of the Saganaw who first entered the country of
the Detroit;--ask that chief if what the Ottawa says is not true. When
the Saganaw said he came only to remove the warriors of the pale flag,
that he might be friendly and trade with the red skins, the Ottawa
received the belt of wampum he offered, and smoked the pipe of peace
with him, and he made his men bring bags of parched corn to his
warriors who wanted food, and he sent to all the nations on the lakes,
and said to them, 'The Saganaw must pass unhurt to the strong hold on
the Detroit.' But for the Ottawa, not a Saganaw would have escaped; for
the nations were thirsting for their blood, and the knives of the
warriors were eager to open their scalps. Ask the chief who sits at the
right hand of my father," he again energetically repeated, "if what the
Ottawa says is not true."

"What the Ottawa says is true," rejoined the governor; "for the chief
who sits on my right hand has often said that, but for the Ottawa, the
small number of the warriors of the Saganaw must have been cut off; and
his heart is big with kindness to the Ottawa for what he did. But if
the great chief meant to be friendly, why did he declare war after
smoking the pipe of peace with the Saganaw? Why did he destroy the
wigwams of the settlers, and carry off the scalps even of their weak
women and children? All this has the Ottawa done; and yet he says that
he wished to be friendly with my young men. But the Saganaw is not a
fool. He knows the Ottawa chief had no will of his own. On the right
hand of the Ottawa sits the great chief of the Delawares, and on his
left the great chief of the Shawanees. They have long been the sworn
enemies of the Saganaw; and they came from the rivers that run near the
salt lake to stir up the red skins of the Detroit to war. They
whispered wicked words in the ear of the Ottawa chief, and he
determined to take up the bloody hatchet. This is a shame to a great
warrior. The Ottawa was a king over all the tribes in the country of
the fresh lakes, and yet he weakly took council like a woman from

"My father lies!" fiercely retorted the warrior, half springing to his
feet, and involuntarily putting his hand upon his tomahawk. "If the
settlers of the Saganaw have fallen," he resumed in a calmer tone,
while he again sank upon his mat, "it is because they did not keep
their faith with the red skins. When they came weak, and were not yet
secure in their strong holds, their tongues were smooth and full of
soft words; but when they became strong under the protection of their
thunder, they no longer treated the red skins as their friends, and
they laughed at them for letting them come into their country." "But,"
he pursued, elevating his voice, "the Ottawa is a great chief, and he
will be respected." Then adverting in bitterness to the influence
supposed to be exercised over him,--"What my father has said is false.
The Shawanees and the Delawares are great nations; but the Ottawas are
greater than any, and their chiefs are full of wisdom. The Shawanees
and the Delawares had no talk with the Ottawa chief to make him do what
his own wisdom did not tell him."

"Then, if the talk came not from the Shawanees and the Delawares, it
came from the spies of the warriors of the pale flag. The great father
of the French was angry with the great father of the Saganaw, because
he conquered his warriors in many battles; and he sent wicked men to
whisper lies of the Saganaw into the ears of the red skins, and to make
them take up the hatchet against them. There is a tall spy at this
moment in the camp of the red skins," he pursued with earnestness, and
yet paling as he spoke. "It is said he is the bosom friend of the great
chief of the Ottawas. But I will not believe it. The head of a great
nation would not be the friend of a spy--of one who is baser than a
dog. His people would despise him; and they would say, 'Our chief is
not fit to sit in council, or to make war; for he is led by the word of
a pale face who is without honour.'"

The swarthy cheek of the Indian reddened, and his eye kindled into
fire. "There is no spy, but a great warrior, in the camp of the
Ottawas," he fiercely replied. "Though he came from the country that
lies beyond the salt lake, he is now a chief of the red skins, and his
arm is mighty, and his heart is big. Would my father know why he has
become a chief of the Ottawas?" he pursued with scornful exultation.
"When the strong holds of the Saganaw fell, the tomahawk of the 'white
warrior' drank more blood than that of a red skin, and his tent is hung
around with poles bending under the weight of the scalps he has taken.
When the great chief of the Ottawas dies, the pale face will lead his
warriors, and take the first seat in the council. The Ottawa chief is
his friend."

"If the pale face be the friend of the Ottawa," pursued the governor,
in the hope of obtaining some particular intelligence in regard to this
terrible and mysterious being, "why is he not here to sit in council
with the chiefs? Perhaps," he proceeded tauntingly, as he fancied he
perceived a disinclination on the part of the Indian to account for the
absence of the warrior, "the pale face is not worthy to take his place
among the head men of the council. His arm may be strong like that of a
warrior, but his head may be weak like that of a woman; or, perhaps, he
is ashamed to show himself before the pale faces, who have turned him
out of their tribe."

"My father lies!" again unceremoniously retorted the warrior. "If the
friend of the Ottawa is not here, it is because his voice cannot speak.
Does my father recollect the bridge on which he killed his young
warrior? Does he recollect the terrible chase of the pale face by the
friend of the Ottawa? Ugh!" he continued, as his attention was now
diverted to another object of interest, "that pale face was swifter
than any runner among the red skins, and for his fleetness he deserved
to live to be a great hunter in the Canadas; but fear broke his
heart,--fear of the friend of the Ottawa chief. The red skins saw him
fall at the feet of the Saganaw without life, and they saw the young
warriors bear him off in their arms. Is not the Ottawa right?" The
Indian paused, threw his eye rapidly along the room, and then, fixing
it on the governor, seemed to wait with deep but suppressed interest
for his reply.

"Peace to the bones of a brave warrior!" seriously and evasively
returned the governor: "the pale face is no longer in the land of the
Canadas, and the young warriors of the Saganaw are sorry for his loss;
but what would the Ottawa say of the bridge? and what has the pale
warrior, the friend of the Ottawa, to do with it?"

A gleam of satisfaction pervaded the countenance of the Indian, as he
eagerly bent his ear to receive the assurance that the fugitive was no
more; but when allusion was again made to the strange warrior, his brow
became overcast, and he replied with mingled haughtiness and anger,--

"Does my father ask? He has dogs of spies among the settlers of the
pale flag, but the tomahawk of the red skins will find them out, and
they shall perish even as the Saganaw themselves. Two nights ago, when
the warriors of the Ottawas were returning from their scout upon the
common, they heard the voice of Onondato, the great wolf-dog of the
friend of the Ottawa chief. The voice came from the bridge where the
Saganaw killed his young warrior, and it called upon the red skins for
assistance. My young men gave their war cry, and ran like wild deer to
destroy the enemies of their chief; but when they came, the spies had
fled, and the voice of Onondato was low and weak as that of a new fawn;
and when the warriors came to the other end of the bridge, they found
the pale chief lying across the road and covered over with blood. They
thought he was dead, and their cry was terrible; for the pale warrior
is a great chief, and the Ottawas love him; but when they looked again,
they saw that the blood was the blood of Onondato, whose throat the
spies of the Saganaw had cut, that he might not hunt them and give them
to the tomahawk of the red skins."

Frequent glances, expressive of their deep interest in the announcement
of this intelligence, passed between the governor and his officers. It
was clear the party who had encountered the terrible warrior of the
Fleur de lis were not spies (for none were employed by the garrison),
but their adventurous companions who had so recently quitted them. This
was put beyond all doubt by the night, the hour, and the not less
important feet of the locality; for it was from the bridge described by
the Indian, near which the Canadian had stated his canoe to be chained,
they were to embark on their perilous and uncertain enterprise. The
question of their own escape from danger in this unlooked for collision
with so powerful and ferocious an enemy, and of the fidelity of the
Canadian, still remained involved in doubt, which it might be
imprudent, if not dangerous, to seek to have resolved by any direct
remark on the subject to the keen and observant warrior. The governor
removed this difficulty by artfully observing,--

"The great chief of the Ottawas has said they were the spies of the
Saganaw who killed the pale warrior. His young men has found them,
then; or how could he know they were spies?"

"Is there a warrior among the Saganaw who dares to show himself in the
path of the red skins, unless he come in strength and surrounded by his
thunder?" was the sneering demand. "But my father is wrong, if he
supposes the friend of the Ottawa is killed. No," he pursued fiercely,
"the dogs of spies could not kill him; they were afraid to face so
terrible a warrior. They came behind him in the dark, and they struck
him on the head like cowards and foxes as they were. The warrior of the
pale face, and the friend of the Ottawa chief, is sick, but not dead.
He lies without motion in his tent, and his voice cannot speak to his
friend to tell him who were his enemies, that he may bring their scalps
to hang up within his wigwam. But the great chief will soon be well,
and his arm will be stronger than ever to spill the blood of the
Saganaw as he has done before."

"The talk of the Ottawa chief is strange," returned the governor,
emphatically and with dignity. "He says he conies to smoke the pipe of
peace with the Saganaw, and yet he talks of spilling their blood as if
it was water from the lake. What does the Ottawa mean?"

"Ugh!" exclaimed the Indian, in his surprise. "My father is right, but
the Ottawa and the Saganaw have not yet smoked together. When they
have, the hatchet will be buried for ever. Until then, they are still

During this long and important colloquy of the leading parties, the
strictest silence had been preserved by the remainder of the council.
The inferior chiefs had continued deliberately puffing the smoke from
their curled lips, as they sat cross-legged on their mats, and nodding
their heads at intervals in confirmation of the occasional appeal made
by the rapid glance of the Ottawa, and uttering their guttural "Ugh!"
whenever any observation of the parlant parties touched their feelings,
or called forth their surprise. The officers had been no less silent
and attentive listeners, to a conversation on the issue of which hung
so many dear and paramount interests. A pause in the conference gave
them an opportunity of commenting in a low tone on the communication
made, in the strong excitement of his pride, by the Ottawa chief, in
regard to the terrible warrior of the Fleur de lis; who, it was
evident, swayed the councils of the Indians, and consequently exercised
an influence over the ultimate destinies of the English, which it was
impossible to contemplate without alarm. It was evident to all, from
whatsoever cause it might arise, this man cherished a rancour towards
certain individuals in the fort, inducing an anxiety in its reduction
scarcely equalled by that entertained on the part of the Indians
themselves. Beyond this, however, all was mystery and doubt; nor had
any clue been given to enable them to arrive even at a well founded
apprehension of the motives which had given birth to the vindictiveness
of purpose, so universally ascribed to him even by the savages

The chiefs also availed themselves of this pause in the conversation of
the principals, to sustain a low and animated discussion. Those of the
Shawanee and Delaware nations were especially earnest; and, as they
spoke across the Ottawa, betrayed, by their vehemence of gesture, the
action of some strong feeling upon their minds, the precise nature of
which could not be ascertained from their speech at the opposite
extremity of the room. The Ottawa did not deign to join in their
conversation, but sat smoking his pipe in all the calm and forbidding
dignity of a proud Indian warrior conscious of his own importance.

"Does the great chief of the Ottawas, then, seek for peace in his heart
at length?" resumed the governor; "or is he come to the strong hold of
Detroit, as he went to the other strong holds, with deceit on his lips?"

The Indian slowly removed his pipe from his mouth, fixed his keen eye
searchingly on that of the questioner for nearly a minute, and then
briefly and haughtily said, "The Ottawa chief has spoken."

"And do the great chiefs of the Shawanees, and the great chiefs of the
Delawares, and the great chiefs of the other nations, ask for peace
also?" demanded the governor. "If so, let them speak for themselves,
and for their warriors."

We will not trespass on the reader, on whom we have already inflicted
too much of this scene, by a transcript of the declarations of the
inferior chiefs. Suffice it to observe, each in his turn avowed motives
similar to those of the Ottawa for wishing the hatchet might be buried
for ever, and that their young men should mingle once more in
confidence, not only with the English troops, but with the settlers,
who would again be brought into the country at the cessation of
hostilities. When each had spoken, the Ottawa passed the pipe of
ceremony, with which he was provided, to the governor.

The latter put it to his lips, and commenced smoking. The Indians
keenly, and half furtively, watched the act; and looks of deep
intelligence, that escaped not the notice of the equally anxious and
observant officers, passed among them.

"The pipe of the great chief of the Ottawas smokes well," calmly
remarked the governor; "but the Ottawa chief, in his hurry to come and
ask for peace, has made a mistake. The pipe and all its ornaments are
red like blood: it is the pipe of war, and not the pipe of peace. The
great chief of the Ottawas will be angry with himself; he has entered
the strong hold of the Saganaw, and sat in the council, without doing
any good for his young men. The Ottawa must come again."

A deep but subdued expression of disappointment passed over the
features of the chiefs. They watched the countenances of the officers,
to see whether the substitution of one pipe for the other had been
attributed, in their estimation, to accident or design. There was
nothing, however, to indicate the slightest doubt of their sincerity.

"My father is right," replied the Indian, with an appearance of
embarrassment, which, whether natural or feigned, had nothing
suspicious in it. "The great chief of the Ottawas has been foolish,
like an old woman. The young chiefs of his tribe will laugh at him for
this. But the Ottawa chief will come again, and the other chiefs with
him, for, as my father sees, they all wish for peace; and that my
father may know all the nations wish for peace, as well as their head
men, the warriors of the Ottawa, and of the Shawanee, and of the
Delaware, shall play at ball upon the common, to amuse his young men,
while the chiefs sit in council with the chiefs of the Saganaw. The red
skins shall come naked, and without their rifles and their tomahawks;
and even the squaws of the warriors shall come upon the common, to show
the Saganaw they may be without fear. Does my father hear?"

"The Ottawa chief says well," returned the governor; "but will the pale
friend of the Ottawa come also to take his seat in the council hall?
The great chief has said the pale warrior has become the second chief
among the Ottawas; and that when he is dead, the pale warrior will lead
the Ottawas, and take the first seat in the council. He, too, should
smoke the pipe of peace with the Saganaw, that they may know he is no
longer their enemy."

The Indian hesitated, uttering merely his quick ejaculatory "Ugh!" in
expression of his surprise at so unexpected a requisition. "The pale
warrior, the friend of the Ottawa, is very sick," he at length said;
"but if the Great Spirit should give him back his voice before the
chiefs come again to the council, the pale face will come too. If my
father does not see him then, he will know the friend of the Ottawa
chief is very sick."

The governor deemed it prudent not to press the question too closely,
lest in so doing he should excite suspicion, and defeat his own object.
"When will the Ottawa and the other chiefs come again?" he asked; "and
when will their warriors play at ball upon the common, that the Saganaw
may see them and be amused?"

"When the sun has travelled so many times," replied Ponteac, holding up
three fingers of his left hand. "Then will the Ottawa and the other
chiefs bring their young warriors and their women."

"It is too soon," was the reply; "the Saganaw must have time to collect
their presents, that they may give them to the young warriors who are
swiftest in the race, and the most active at the ball. The great chief
of the Ottawas, too, must let the settlers of the pale flag, who are
the friends of the red skins, bring in food for the Saganaw, that a
great feast may be given to the chiefs, and to the warriors, and that
the Saganaw may make peace with the Ottawas and the other nations as
becomes a great people. In twice so many days," holding up three of his
fingers in imitation of the Indian, "the Saganaw will be ready to
receive the chiefs in council, that they may smoke the pipe of peace,
and bury the hatchet for ever. What says the great chief of the

"It is good," was the reply of the Indian, his eye lighting up with
deep and exulting expression. "The settlers of the pale flag shall
bring food to the Saganaw. The Ottawa chief will send them, and he will
desire his young men not to prevent them. In so many days, then,"
indicating with his fingers, "the great chiefs will sit again in
council with the Saganaw, and the Ottawa chief will not be a fool to
bring the pipe he does not want."

With this assurance the conference terminated. Ponteac raised his tall
frame from the mat on which he had been squatted, nodded
condescendingly to the governor, and strode haughtily into the square
or area of the fort. The other chiefs followed his example; and to
Major Blackwater was again assigned the duty of accompanying them
without the works. The glance of the savages, and that of Ponteac in
particular, was less wary than at their entrance. Each seemed to
embrace every object on which the eye could rest, as if to fix its
position indelibly in his memory. The young chief, who had been so
suddenly and opportunely checked while in the very act of pealing forth
his terrible war whoop, again looked up at the windows of the block
house, in quest of those whom his savage instinct had already devoted
in intention to his tomahawk, but they were no longer there. Such was
the silence that reigned every where, the fort appeared to be tenanted
only by the few men of the guard, who lingered near their stations,
attentively watching the Indians, as they passed towards the gate. A
very few minutes sufficed to bring the latter once more in the midst of
their warriors, whom, for a few moments, they harangued earnestly, when
the whole body again moved off in the direction of their encampment.


The week that intervened between the visit of the chiefs and the day
appointed for their second meeting in council, was passed by the
garrison in perfect freedom from alarm, although, as usual, in diligent
watchfulness and preparations for casualties. In conformity with his
promise, the Indian had despatched many of the Canadian settlers, with
such provisions as the country then afforded, to the governor, and
these, happy to obtain the gold of the troops in return for what they
could conveniently spare, were not slow in availing themselves of the
permission. Dried bears' meat, venison, and Indian corn, composed the
substance of these supplies, which were in sufficient abundance to
produce a six weeks' increase to the stock of the garrison. Hitherto
they had been subsisting, in a great degree, upon salt provisions; the
food furtively supplied by the Canadians being necessarily, from their
dread of detection, on so limited a scale, that a very small portion of
the troops had been enabled to profit by it. This, therefore, was an
important and unexpected benefit, derived from the falling in of the
garrison with the professed views of the savages; and one which,
perhaps, few officers would, like Colonel de Haldimar, have possessed
the forethought to have secured. But although it served to relieve the
animal wants of the man, there was little to remove his moral
inquietude. Discouraged by the sanguinary character of the warfare in
which they seemed doomed to be for ever engaged, and harassed by
constant watchings,--seldom taking off their clothes for weeks
together,--the men had gradually been losing their energy of spirit, in
the contemplation of the almost irremediable evils by which they were
beset; and looked forward with sad and disheartening conviction to a
fate, that all things tended to prove to them was unavoidable, however
the period of its consummation might be protracted. Among the officers,
this dejection, although proceeding from a different cause, was no less
prevalent; and notwithstanding they sought to disguise it before their
men, when left to themselves, they gave unlimited rein to a despondency
hourly acquiring strength, as the day fixed on for the second council
with the Indians drew near.

At length it came, that terrible and eventful day, and, as if in
mockery of those who saw no beauty in its golden beams, arrayed in all
the gorgeous softness of its autumnal glory. Sad and heavy were the
hearts of many within that far distant and isolated fort, as they rose,
at the first glimmering of light above the horizon, to prepare for the
several duties assigned them. All felt the influence of a feeling that
laid prostrate the moral energies even of the boldest: but there was
one young officer in particular, who exhibited a dejection,
degenerating almost into stupefaction; and more than once, when he
received an order from his superior, hesitated as one who either heard
not, or, in attempting to perform it, mistook the purport of his
instructions, and executed some entirely different duty. The
countenance of this officer, whose attenuated person otherwise bore
traces of languor and debility, but too plainly marked the
abstractedness and terror of his mind, while the set stiff features and
contracted muscles of the face contributed to give an expression of
vacuity, that one who knew him not might have interpreted unfavourably.
Several times, during the inspection of his company at the early
parade, he was seen to raise his head, and throw forward his ear, as if
expecting to catch the echo of some horrible and appalling cry, until
the men themselves remarked, and commented, by interchange of looks, on
the singular conduct of their officer, whose thoughts had evidently no
connection with the duty he was performing, or the spot on which he

When this customary inspection had been accomplished,--how imperfectly,
has been seen,--and the men dismissed from their ranks, the same young
officer was observed, by one who followed his every movement with
interest, to ascend that part of the rampart which commanded an
unbroken view of the country westward, from the point where the
encampment of the Indians was supposed to lie, down to the bridge on
which the terrible tragedy of Halloway's death had been so recently
enacted. Unconscious of the presence of two sentinels, who moved to and
fro near their respective posts, on either side of him, the young
officer folded his arms, and gazed in that direction for some minutes,
with his whole soul riveted on the scene. Then, as if overcome by
recollections called up by that on which he gazed, he covered his eyes
hurriedly with his hands, and betrayed, by the convulsed movement of
his slender form, he was weeping bitterly. This paroxysm past, he
uncovered his face, sank with one knee upon the ground, and upraising
his clasped hands, as if in appeal to his God, seemed to pray deeply
and fervently. In this attitude he continued for some moments, when he
became sensible of the approach of an intruder. He raised himself from
his knee, turned, and beheld one whose countenance was stamped with a
dejection scarcely inferior to his own. It was Captain Blessington.

"Charles, my dear Charles!" exclaimed the latter hurriedly, as he laid
his hand upon the shoulder of the emaciated De Haldimar, "consider you
are not alone. For God's sake, check this weakness! There are men
observing you on every side, and your strange manner has already been
the subject of remark in the company."

"When the heart is sick, like mine," replied the youth, in a tone of
fearful despondency, "it is alike reckless of forms, and careless of
appearances. I trust, however," and here spoke the soldier, "there are
few within this fort who will believe me less courageous, because I
have been seen to bend my knee in supplication to my God. I did not
think that YOU, Blessington, would have been the first to condemn the

"I condemn it, Charles! you mistake me, indeed you do," feelingly
returned his captain, secretly pained at the mild reproach contained in
the concluding sentence; "but there are two things to be considered. In
the first instance, the men, who are yet in ignorance of the great
evils with which we are threatened, may mistake the cause of your
agitation; you were in tears just now, Charles, and the sentinels must
have remarked it as well as myself. I would not have them to believe
that one of their officers was affected by the anticipation of coming
disaster, in a way their own hearts are incapable of estimating. You
understand me, Charles? I would not have them too much discouraged by
an example that may become infectious."

"I DO understand you, Blessington," and a forced and sickly smile
played for a moment over the wan yet handsome features of the young
officer; "you would not have me appear a weeping coward in their eyes."

"Nay, dear Charles, I did not say it."

"But you meant it, Blessington; yet, think not,"--and he warmly pressed
the hand of his captain,--"think not, I repeat, I take your hint in any
other than the friendly light in which it was intended. That I have
been no coward, however, I hope I have given proof more than once
before the men, most of whom have known me from my very cradle; yet,
whatever they may think, is to me, at this moment, a matter of utter
indifference. Blessington," and again the tears rolled from his fixed
eyes over his cheek, while he pointed with his finger to the western
horizon, "I have neither thought nor feeling for myself; my whole heart
lies buried there. Oh, God of Heaven!" he pursued after a pause, and
again raising his eyes in supplication, "avert the dreadful destiny
that awaits my beloved sister."

"Charles, Charles, if only for that sister's sake, then, calm an
agitation which, if thus indulged in, will assuredly destroy you. All
will yet be well. The delay obtained by your father has been sufficient
for the purpose proposed. Let us hope for the best: if we are deceived
in our expectation, it will then be time enough to indulge in a grief,
which could scarcely be exceeded, were the fearful misgivings of your
mind to be realised before your eyes."

"Blessington," returned the young officer,--and his features exhibited
the liveliest image of despair,--"all hope has long since been extinct
within my breast. See you yon theatre of death?" he mournfully pursued,
pointing to the fatal bridge, which was thrown into full relief against
the placid bosom of the Detroit: "recollect you the scene that was
acted on it? As for me, it is ever present to my mind,--it haunts me in
my thoughts by day, and in my dreams by night. I shall never forget it
while memory is left to curse me with the power of retrospection. On
the very spot on which I now stand was I borne in a chair, to witness
the dreadful punishment; you see the stone at my feet, I marked it by
that. I saw you conduct Halloway to the centre of the bridge; I beheld
him kneel to receive his death; I saw, too, the terrible race for life,
that interrupted the proceedings; I marked the sudden upspring of
Halloway to his feet upon the coffin, and the exulting waving of his
hand, as he seemed to recognise the rivals for mastery in that race.
Then was heard the fatal volley, and I saw the death-struggle of him
who had saved my brother's life. I could have died, too, at that
moment; and would to Providence I had! but it was otherwise decreed. My
aching interest was, for a moment, diverted by the fearful chase now
renewed upon the height; and, in common with those around me, I watched
the efforts of the pursuer and the pursued with painful earnestness and
doubt as to the final result. Ah, Blessington, why was not this all?
The terrible shriek, uttered at the moment when the fugitive fell,
apparently dead, at the feet of the firing party, reached us even here.
I felt as if my heart must have burst, for I knew it to be the shriek
of poor Ellen Halloway,--the suffering wife,--the broken-hearted woman
who had so recently, in all the wild abandonment of her grief, wetted
my pillow, and even my cheek, with her burning tears, while
supplicating an intercession with my father for mercy, which I knew it
would be utterly fruitless to promise. Oh, Blessington," pursued the
sensitive and affectionate young officer, "I should vainly attempt to
paint all that passed in my mind at that dreadful moment. Nothing but
the depth of my despair gave me strength to support the scene
throughout. I saw the frantic and half-naked woman glide like a phantom
past the troops, dividing the air with the rapidity of thought. I knew
it to be Ellen; for the discovery of her exchange of clothes with one
of the drum boys of the grenadiers was made soon after you left the
fort. I saw her leap upon the coffin, and, standing over the body of
her unhappy husband, raise her hands to heaven in adjuration, and my
heart died within me. I recollected the words she had spoken on a
previous occasion, during the first examination of Halloway, and I felt
it to be the prophetic denunciation, then threatened, that she was now
uttering on all the race of De Haldimar. I saw no more, Blessington.
Sick, dizzy, and with every faculty of my mind annihilated, I turned
away from the horrid scene, and was again borne to my room. I tried to
give vent to my overcharged heart in tears; but the power was denied
me, and I sank at once into that stupefaction which you have since
remarked in me, and which has been increasing every hour. What
additional cause I have had for the indulgence of this confirmed
despondency you are well acquainted with. It is childish, it is
unsoldierlike, I admit: but, alas! that dreadful scene is eternally
before my eyes, and absorbs my mind, to the exclusion of every other
feeling. I have not a thought or a care but for the fate that too
certainly awaits those who are most dear to me; and if this be a
weakness, it is one I shall never have the power to shake off. In a
word, Blessington, I am heart-broken."

Captain Blessington was deeply affected; for there was a solemnity in
the voice and manner of the young officer that carried conviction to
the heart; and it was some moments before he could so far recover
himself as to observe,--

"That scene, Charles, was doubtless a heart-rending one to us all; for
I well recollect, on turning to remark the impression made on my men
when the wretched Ellen Halloway pronounced her appalling curse to have
seen the large tears coursing each other over the furrowed cheeks of
some of our oldest soldiers: and if THEY could feel thus, how much more
acute must have been the grief of those immediately interested in its

"THEIR tears were not for the denounced race of De Haldimar," returned
the youth,--"they were shed for their unhappy comrade--they were wrung
from their stubborn hearts by the agonising grief of the wife of

"That this was the case in part, I admit," returned Captain
Blessington. "The feelings of the men partook of a mixed character. It
was evident that grief for Halloway, compassion for his wife, secret
indignation and, it may be, disgust at the severity of your father, and
sorrow for his innocent family, who were included in that denunciation,
predominated with equal force in their hearts at the same moment. There
was an expression that told how little they would have pitied any
anguish of mind inflicted on their colonel, provided his children, whom
they loved, were not to be sacrificed to its accomplishment."

"You admit, then, Blessington, although indirectly," replied the young
De Haldimar in a voice of touching sorrow, "that the consummation of
the sacrifice IS to be looked for. Alas! it is that on which my mind
perpetually lingers; yet, Heaven knows, my fears are not for myself."

"You mistake me, dearest Charles. I look upon the observations of the
unhappy woman as the ravings of a distracted mind--the last wild
outpourings of a broken heart, turning with animal instinct on the hand
that has inflicted its death-blow."

"Ah, why did she except no one member of that family!" said the unhappy
De Haldimar, pursuing rather the chain of his reflections than replying
to the observation of his captain. "Had the weight of her malediction
fallen on all else than my adored sister, I could have borne the
infliction, and awaited the issue with resignation, if not without
apprehension. But my poor gentle and unoffending Clara,--alike innocent
of the cause, and ignorant of the effect,--what had she done to be
included in this terrible curse?--she, who, in the warm and generous
affection of her nature, had ever treated Ellen Halloway rather as a
sister than as the dependant she always appeared." Again he covered his
eyes with his hands, to conceal the starting tears.

"De Haldimar," said Captain Blessington reprovingly, but mildly, "this
immoderate grief is wrong--it is unmanly, and should be repressed. I
can feel and understand the nature of your sorrow; but others may not
judge so favourably. We shall soon be summoned to fall in; and I would
not that Mr. Delme, in particular, should notice an emotion he is so
incapable of understanding."

The hand of the young officer dropped from his face to the hilt of his
sword. His cheek became scarlet; and even through the tears which he
half choked himself to command, there was an unwonted flashing from his
blue eye, that told how deeply the insinuation had entered into his

"Think you, Captain Blessington," he proudly retorted, "there is an
officer in the fort who should dare to taunt me with my feelings as you
have done? I came here, sir, in the expectation I should be alone. At a
fitting hour I shall be found where Captain Blessington's subaltern
should be--with his company."

"De Haldimar--dear De Haldimar, forgive me!" returned his captain.
"Heaven knows I would not, on any consideration, wantonly inflict pain
on your sensitive heart. My design was to draw you out of this
desponding humour; and with this view I sought to arouse your pride,
but certainly not to wound your feelings. De Haldimar," he concluded,
with marked expression, "you must not, indeed, feel offended with one
who has known and esteemed you from very boyhood. Friendship and
interest in your deep affliction of spirit alone brought me here--the
same feelings prompted my remark. Do you not believe me?"

"I do," impressively returned the young man, grasping the hand that was
extended to him in amity. "It is I, rather, Blessington, who should ask
you to forgive my petulance; but, indeed, indeed," and again his tone
faltered, and his eye was dimmed, "I am more wretched even than I am
willing to confess. Pardon my silly conduct--it was but the vain and
momentary flashing of the soldier's spirit impatient of an assumed
imputation, and the man less than the profession is to be taxed with
it. But it is past; and already do you behold me once more the tame and
apprehensive being I must ever continue until all is over."

"What can I possibly urge to console one who seems so willing to nurse
into conviction all the melancholy imaginings of a diseased mind,"
observed Captain Blessington, in a voice that told how deeply he felt
for the situation of his young friend. "Recollect, dearest Charles, the
time that has been afforded to our friends. More than a week has gone
by since they left the fort, and a less period was deemed sufficient
for their purpose. Before this they must have gained their destination.
In fact, it is my positive belief they have; for there could be nothing
to detect them in their disguise. Had I the famous lamp of Aladdin," he
pursued, in a livelier tone, "over the history of which Clara and
yourself used to spend so many hours in childhood, I have no doubt I
could show them to you quietly seated within the fort, recounting their
adventures to Clara and her cousin, and discoursing of their absent

"Would I to Heaven you had the power to do so!" replied De Haldimar,
smiling faintly at the conceit, while a ray of hope beamed for a moment
upon his sick soul; "for then, indeed, would all my fears for the
present be at rest. But you forget, Blessington, the encounter stated
to have taken place between them and that terrible stranger near the
bridge. Besides, is it not highly probable the object of their
expedition was divined by that singular and mysterious being, and that
means have been taken to intercept their passage? If so, all hope is at
an end."

"Why persevere in viewing only the more sombre side of the picture?"
returned his friend. "In your anxiety to anticipate evil, Charles, you
have overlooked one important fact. Ponteac distinctly stated that his
ruffian friend was still lying deprived of consciousness and speech
within his tent, and yet two days had elapsed since the encounter was
said to have taken place. Surely we have every reason then to infer
they were beyond all reach of pursuit, even admitting, what is by no
means probable the recovery of the wretch immediately after the return
of the chiefs from the council."

A gleam of satisfaction, but so transient as to be scarcely noticeable,
passed over the pale features of the youthful De Haldimar. He looked
his thanks to the kind officer who was thus solicitous to tender him
consolation; and was about to reply, when the attention of both was
diverted by the report of a musket from the rear of the fort. Presently
afterwards, the word was passed along the chain of sentinels, upon the
ramparts, that the Indians were issuing in force from the forest upon
the common near the bomb-proof. Then was heard, as the sentinel at the
gate delivered the password, the heavy roll of the drum summoning to

"Ha! here already!" said Captain Blessington, as, glancing towards the
forest, he beheld the skirt of the wood now alive with dusky human
forms: "Ponteac's visit is earlier than we had been taught to expect;
but we are as well prepared to receive him now, as later; and, in fact,
the sooner the interview is terminated, the sooner we shall know what
we have to depend upon. Come, Charles, we must join the company, and
let me entreat you to evince less despondency before the men. It is
hard, I know, to sustain an artificial character under such
disheartening circumstances; still, for example's sake, it must be

"What I can I will do, Blessington," rejoined the youth, as they both
moved from the ramparts; "but the task is, in truth, one to which I
find myself wholly unequal. How do I know that, even at this moment, my
defenceless, terrified, and innocent sister may not be invoking the
name and arm of her brother to save her from destruction."

"Trust in Providence, Charles. Even although our worst apprehensions be
realised, as I fervently trust they will not, your sister may be
spared. The Canadian could not have been unfaithful, or we should have
learnt something of his treachery from the Indians. Another week will
confirm us in the truth or fallacy of our impressions. Until then, let
us arm our hearts with hope. Trust me, we shall yet see the laughing
eyes of Clara fill with tears of affection, as I recount to her all her
too sensitive and too desponding brother has suffered for her sake."

De Haldimar made no reply. He deeply felt the kind intention of his
captain, but was far from cherishing the hope that had been
recommended. He sighed heavily, pressed the arm, on which he leaned, in
gratitude for the motive, and moved silently with his friend to join
their company below the rampart.


Meanwhile the white flag had again been raised by the Indians upon the
bomb-proof; and this having been readily met by a corresponding signal
from the fort, a numerous band of savages now issued from the cover
with which their dark forms had hitherto been identified, and spread
themselves far and near upon the common. On this occasion they were
without arms, offensive or defensive, of any kind, if we may except the
knife which was always carried at the girdle, and which constituted a
part rather of their necessary dress than of their warlike equipment.
These warriors might have been about five hundred in number, and were
composed chiefly of picked men from the nations of the Ottawas, the
Delawares, and the Shawanees; each race being distinctly recognisable
from the others by certain peculiarities of form and feature which
individualised, if we may so term it, the several tribes. Their only
covering was the legging before described, composed in some instances
of cloth, but principally of smoked deerskin, and the flap that passed
through the girdle around the loins, by which the straps attached to
the leggings were secured. Their bodies, necks, and arms were, with the
exception of a few slight ornaments, entirely naked; and even the
blanket, that served them as a couch by night and a covering by day,
had, with one single exception, been dispensed with, apparently with a
view to avoid any thing like encumbrance in their approaching sport.
Each individual was provided with a stout sapling of about three feet
in length, curved, and flattened at the root extremity, like that used
at the Irish hurdle; which game, in fact, the manner of ball-playing
among the Indians in every way resembled.

Interspersed among these warriors were a nearly equal number of squaws.
These were to be seen lounging carelessly about in small groups, and
were of all ages; from the hoary-headed, shrivelled-up hag, whose eyes
still sparkled with a fire that her lank and attenuated frame denied,
to the young girl of twelve, whose dark and glowing cheek, rounded
bust, and penetrating glance, bore striking evidence of the
precociousness of Indian beauty. These latter looked with evident
interest on the sports of the younger warriors, who, throwing down
their hurdles, either vied with each other in the short but incredibly
swift foot-race, or indulged themselves in wrestling and leaping; while
their companions, abandoned to the full security they felt to be
attached to the white flag waving on the fort, lay at their lazy length
upon the sward, ostensibly following the movements of the several
competitors in these sports, but in reality with heart and eye directed
solely to the fortification that lay beyond. Each of these females, in
addition to the machecoti, or petticoat, which in one solid square of
broad-cloth was tightly wrapped around the loins, also carried a
blanket loosely thrown around the person, but closely confined over the
shoulders in front, and reaching below the knee. There was an air of
constraint in their movements, which accorded ill with the occasion of
festivity for which they were assembled; and it was remarkable, whether
it arose from deference to those to whom they were slaves, as well as
wives and daughters, or from whatever other cause it might be, none of
them ventured to recline themselves upon the sward in imitation of the

When it had been made known to the governor that the Indians had begun
to develop themselves in force upon the common unarmed, yet redolent
with the spirit that was to direct their meditated sports, the soldiers
were dismissed from their respective companies to the ramparts; where
they were now to be seen, not drawn up in formidable and hostile array,
but collected together in careless groups, and simply in their
side-arms. This reciprocation of confidence on the part of the garrison
was acknowledged by the Indians by marks of approbation, expressed as
much by the sudden and classic disposition of their fine forms into
attitudes strikingly illustrative of their admiration and pleasure, as
by the interjectional sounds that passed from one to the other of the
throng. From the increased alacrity with which they now lent themselves
to the preparatory and inferior amusements of the day, it was evident
their satisfaction was complete.

Hitherto the principal chiefs had, as on the previous occasion,
occupied the bomb-proof; and now, as then, they appeared to be
deliberating among themselves, but evidently in a more energetic and
serious manner. At length they separated, when Ponteac, accompanied by
the chiefs who had attended him on the former day, once more led in the
direction of the fort. The moment of his advance was the signal for the
commencement of the principal game. In an instant those of the warriors
who lay reclining on the sward sprang to their feet, while the
wrestlers and racers resumed their hurdles, and prepared themselves for
the trial of mingled skill and swiftness. At first they formed a dense
group in the centre of the common; and then, diverging in two equal
files both to the right and to the left of the immediate centre, where
the large ball was placed, formed an open chain, extending from the
skirt of the forest to the commencement of the village. On the one side
were ranged the Delawares and the Shawanees, and on the other the more
numerous nation of the Ottawas. The women of these several tribes,
apparently much interested in the issue of an amusement in which the
manliness and activity of their respective friends were staked, had
gradually and imperceptibly gained the front of the fort, where they
were now huddled in groups at about twenty paces from the drawbridge,
and bending eagerly forward to command the movements of the

In his circuit round the walls, Ponteac was seen to remark the
confiding appearance of the unarmed soldiery with a satisfaction that
was not sought to be disguised; and from the manner in which he threw
his glance along each face of the rampart, it was evident his object
was to embrace the numerical strength collected there. It was moreover
observed, when he passed the groups of squaws on his way to the gate,
he addressed some words in a strange tongue to the elder matrons of

Once more the dark warriors were received at the gate by Major
Blackwater; and, as with firm but elastic tread, they moved across the
square, each threw his fierce eyes rapidly and anxiously around, and
with less of concealment in his manner than had been manifested on the
former occasion. On every hand the same air of nakedness and desertion
met their gaze. Not even a soldier of the guard was to be seen; and
when they cast their eyes upwards to the windows of the blockhouses,
they were found to be tenantless as the area through which they passed.
A gleam of fierce satisfaction pervaded the swarthy countenances of the
Indians; and the features of Ponteac, in particular, expressed the
deepest exultation. Instead of leading his party, he now brought up the
rear; and when arrived in the centre of the fort, he, without any
visible cause for the accident, stumbled, and fell to the earth. The
other chiefs for a moment lost sight of their ordinary gravity, and
marked their sense of the circumstance by a prolonged sound, partaking
of the mingled character of a laugh and a yell. Startled at the cry,
Major Blackwater, who was in front, turned to ascertain the cause. At
that moment Ponteac sprang lightly again to his feet, responding to the
yell of his confederates by another even more startling, fierce, and
prolonged than their own. He then stalked proudly to the head of the
party, and even preceded Major Blackwater into the council room.

In this rude theatre of conference some changes had been made since
their recent visit, which escaped not the observation of the
quick-sighted chiefs. Their mats lay in the position they had
previously occupied, and the chairs of the officers were placed as
before, but the room itself had been considerably enlarged. The slight
partition terminating the interior extremity of the mess-room, and
dividing it from that of one of the officers, had been removed; and
midway through this, extending entirely across, was drawn a curtain of
scarlet cloth, against which the imposing figure of the governor,
elevated as his seat was above those of the other officers, was thrown
into strong relief. There was another change, that escaped not the
observation of the Indians, and that was, not more than one half of the
officers who had been present at the first conference being now in the
room. Of these latter, one had, moreover, been sent away by the
governor the moment the chiefs were ushered in.

"Ugh!" ejaculated the proud leader, as he took his seat
unceremoniously, and yet not without reluctance, upon the mat. "The
council-room of my father is bigger than when the Ottawa was here
before, yet the number of his chiefs is not so many."

"The great chief of the Ottawas knows that the Saganaw has promised the
red skins a feast," returned the governor. "Were he to leave it to his
young warriors to provide it, he would not be able to receive the
Ottawa like a great chief, and to make peace with him as he could wish."

"My father has a great deal of cloth, red, like the blood of a pale
face," pursued the Indian, rather in demand than in observation, as he
pointed with his finger to the opposite end of the room. "When the
Ottawa was here last, he did not see it."

"The great chief of the Ottawas knows that the great father of the
Saganaw has a big heart to make presents to the red skins. The cloth
the Ottawa sees there is sufficient to make leggings for the chiefs of
all the nations."

Apparently satisfied with this reply, the fierce Indian uttered one of
his strong guttural and assentient "ughs," and then commenced filling
the pipe of peace, correct on the present occasion in all its
ornaments, which was handed to him by the Delaware chief. It was
remarked by the officers this operation took up an unusually long
portion of his time, and that he frequently turned his ear, like a
horse stirred by the huntsman's horn, with quick and irrepressible
eagerness towards the door.

"The pale warrior, the friend of the Ottawa chief, is not here," said
the governor, as he glanced his eye along the semicircle of Indians.
"How is this? Is his voice still sick, that he cannot come; or has the
great chief of the Ottawas forgotten to tell him?"

"The voice of the pale warrior is still sick, and he cannot speak,"
replied the Indian. "The Ottawa chief is very sorry; for the tongue of
his friend the pale face is full of wisdom."

Scarcely had the last words escaped his lips, when a wild shrill cry
from without the fort rang on the ears of the assembled council, and
caused a momentary commotion among the officers. It arose from a single
voice, and that voice could not be mistaken by any who had heard it
once before. A second or two, during which the officers and chiefs kept
their eyes intently fixed on each other, passed anxiously away, and
then nearer to the gate, apparently on the very drawbridge itself, was
pealed forth the wild and deafening yell of a legion of devilish
voices. At that sound, the Ottawa and the other chiefs sprang to their
feet, and their own fierce cry responded to that yet vibrating on the
ears of all. Already were their gleaming tomahawks brandished wildly
over their heads, and Ponteac had even bounded a pace forward to reach
the governor with the deadly weapon, when, at the sudden stamping of
the foot of the latter upon the floor, the scarlet cloth in the rear
was thrown aside, and twenty soldiers, their eyes glancing along the
barrels of their levelled muskets, met the startled gaze of the
astonished Indians.

An instant was enough to satisfy the keen chief of the true state of
the case. The calm composed mien of the officers, not one of whom had
even attempted to quit his seat, amid the din by which his ears were so
alarmingly assailed,--the triumphant, yet dignified, and even severe
expression of the governor's countenance; and, above all, the
unexpected presence of the prepared soldiery,--all these at once
assured him of the discovery of his treachery, and the danger that
awaited him. The necessity for an immediate attempt to join his
warriors without, was now obvious to the Ottawa; and scarcely had he
conceived the idea before it was sought to be executed. In a single
spring he gained the door of the mess-room, and, followed eagerly and
tumultuously by the other chiefs, to whose departure no opposition was
offered, in the next moment stood on the steps of the piazza that ran
along the front of the building whence he had issued.

The surprise of the Indians on reaching this point, was now too
powerful to be dissembled; and, incapable either of advancing or
receding, they remained gazing on the scene before them with an air of
mingled stupefaction, rage, and alarm. Scarcely ten minutes had elapsed
since they had proudly strode through the naked area of the fort; and
yet, even in that short space of time, its appearance had been entirely
changed. Not a part was there now of the surrounding buildings that was
not redolent with human life, and hostile preparation. Through every
window of the officers' low rooms, was to be seen the dark and frowning
muzzle of a field-piece, bearing upon the gateway; and behind these
were artillerymen, holding their lighted matches, supported again by
files of bayonets, that glittered in their rear. In the block-houses
the same formidable array of field-pieces and muskets was visible;
while from the four angles of the square, as many heavy guns, that had
been artfully masked at the entrance of the chiefs, seemed ready to
sweep away every thing that should come before them. The guard-room
near the gate presented the same hostile front. The doors of this, as
well as of the other buildings, had been firmly secured within; but
from every window affording cover to the troops, gleamed a line of
bayonets rising above the threatening field-pieces, pointed, at a
distance of little more than twelve feet, directly upon the gateway. In
addition to his musket, each man of the guard moreover held a hand
grenade, provided with a short fuze that could be ignited in a moment
from the matches of the gunners, and with immediate effect. The
soldiers in the block-houses were similarly provided.

Almost magic as was the change thus suddenly effected in the appearance
of the garrison, it was not the most interesting feature in the
exciting scene. Choking up the gateway, in which they were completely
wedged, and crowding the drawbridge, a dense mass of dusky Indians were
to be seen casting their fierce glances around; yet paralysed in their
movements by the unlooked-for display of a resisting force, threatening
instant annihilation to those who should attempt either to advance or
to recede. Never, perhaps, were astonishment and disappointment more
forcibly depicted on the human countenance, than as they were now
exhibited by these men, who had already, in imagination, secured to
themselves an easy conquest. They were the warriors who had so recently
been engaged in the manly yet innocent exercise of the ball; but,
instead of the harmless hurdle, each now carried a short gun in one
hand and a gleaming tomahawk in the other. After the first general
yelling heard in the council-room, not a sound was uttered. Their burst
of rage and triumph had evidently been checked by the unexpected manner
of their reception, and they now stood on the spot on which the further
advance of each had been arrested, so silent and motionless, that, but
for the rolling of their dark eyes, as they keenly measured the
insurmountable barriers that were opposed to their progress, they might
almost have been taken for a wild group of statuary.

Conspicuous at the head of these was he who wore the blanket; a tall
warrior, on whom rested the startled eye of every officer and soldier
who was so situated as to behold him. His face was painted black as
death; and as he stood under the arch of the gateway, with his white
turbaned head towering far above those of his companions, this
formidable and mysterious enemy might have been likened to the spirit
of darkness presiding over his terrible legions.

In order to account for the extraordinary appearance of the Indians,
armed in every way for death, at a moment when neither gun nor tomahawk
was apparently within miles of their reach, it will be necessary to
revert to the first entrance of the chiefs into the fort. The fall of
Ponteac had been the effect of design; and the yell pealed forth by
him, on recovering his feet, as if in taunting reply to the laugh of
his comrades, was in reality a signal intended for the guidance of the
Indians without. These, now following up their game with increasing
spirit, at once changed the direction of their line, bringing the ball
nearer to the fort. In their eagerness to effect this object, they had
overlooked the gradual secession of the unarmed troops, spectators of
their sport from the ramparts, until scarcely more than twenty
stragglers were left. As they neared the gate, the squaws broke up
their several groups, and, forming a line on either hand of the road
leading to the drawbridge, appeared to separate solely with a view not
to impede the action of the players. For an instant a dense group
collected around the ball, which had been driven to within a hundred
yards of the gate, and fifty hurdles were crossed in their endeavours
to secure it, when the warrior, who formed the solitary exception to
the multitude, in his blanket covering, and who had been lingering in
the extreme rear of the party, came rapidly up to the spot where the
well-affected struggle was maintained. At his approach, the hurdles of
the other players were withdrawn, when, at a single blow from his
powerful arm, the ball was seen flying into the air in an oblique
direction, and was for a moment lost altogether to the view. When it
again met the eye, it was descending perpendicularly into the very
centre of the fort.

With the fleetness of thought now commenced a race that had ostensibly
for its object the recovery of the lost ball; and in which, he who had
driven it with such resistless force outstripped them all. Their course
lay between the two lines of squaws; and scarcely had the head of the
bounding Indians reached the opposite extremity of those lines, when
the women suddenly threw back their blankets, and disclosed each a
short gun and a tomahawk. To throw away their hurdles and seize upon
these, was the work of an instant. Already, in imagination, was the
fort their own; and, such was the peculiar exultation of the black and
turbaned warrior, when he felt the planks of the drawbridge bending
beneath his feet, all the ferocious joy of his soul was pealed forth in
the terrible cry which, rapidly succeeded by that of the other Indians,
had resounded so fearfully through the council-room. What their
disappointment was, when, on gaining the interior, they found the
garrison prepared for their reception, has already been shown.

"Secure that traitor, men!" exclaimed the governor, advancing into the
square, and pointing to the black warrior, whose quick eye was now
glancing on every side, to discover some assailable point in the
formidable defences of the troops.

A laugh of scorn and derision escaped the lips of the warrior. "Is
there a man--are there any ten men, even with Governor de Haldimar at
their head, who will be bold enough to attempt it?" he asked. "Nay!" he
pursued, stepping boldly a pace or two in front of the wondering
savages,--"here I stand singly, and defy your whole garrison!"

A sudden movement among the soldiers in the guard-room announced they
were preparing to execute the order of their chief. The eye of the
black warrior sparkled with ferocious pleasure; and he made a gesture
to his followers, which was replied to by the sudden tension of their
hitherto relaxed forms into attitudes of expectance and preparation.

"Stay, men; quit not your cover for your lives!" commanded the
governor, in a loud deep voice:--"keep the barricades fast, and move

A cloud of anger and disappointment passed over the features of the
black warrior. It was evident the object of his bravado was to draw the
troops from their defences, that they might be so mingled with their
enemies as to render the cannon useless, unless friends and foes (which
was by no means probable) should alike be sacrificed. The governor had
penetrated the design in time to prevent the mischief.

In a moment of uncontrollable rage, the savage warrior aimed his
tomahawk at the head of the governor. The latter stepped lightly aside,
and the steel sank with such force into one of the posts supporting the
piazza, that the quivering handle snapped close off at its head. At
that moment, a single shot, fired from the guard-house, was drowned in
the yell of approbation which burst from the lips of the dark crowd.
The turban of the warrior was, however, seen flying through the air,
carried away by the force of the bullet which had torn it from his
head. He himself was unharmed.

"A narrow escape for us both, Colonel de Haldimar," he observed, as
soon as the yell had subsided, and with an air of the most perfect
unconcern. "Had my tomahawk obeyed the first impulse of my heart, I
should have cursed myself and died: as it is, I have reason to avoid
all useless exposure of my own life, at present. A second bullet may be
better directed; and to die, robbed of my revenge, would ill answer the
purpose of a life devoted to its attainment. Remember my pledge!"

At the hasty command of the governor, a hundred muskets were raised to
the shoulders of his men; but, before a single eye could glance along
the barrel, the formidable and active warrior had bounded over the
heads of the nearest Indians into a small space that was left
unoccupied; when, stooping suddenly to the earth, he disappeared
altogether from the view of his enemies. A slight movement in the
centre of the numerous band crowding the gateway, and extending even
beyond the bridge, was now discernible: it was like the waving of a
field of standing corn, through which some animal rapidly winds its
tortuous course, bending aside as the object advances, and closing
again when it has passed. After the lapse of a minute, the terrible
warrior was seen to spring again to his feet, far in the rear of the
band; and then, uttering a fierce shout of exultation, to make good his
retreat towards the forest.

Meanwhile, Ponteac and the other chiefs of the council continued rooted
to the piazza on which they had rushed at the unexpected display of the
armed men behind the scarlet curtain. The loud "Waugh" that burst from
the lips of all, on finding themselves thus foiled in their schemes of
massacre, had been succeeded, the instant afterwards, by feelings of
personal apprehension, which each, however, had collectedness enough to
disguise. Once the Ottawa made a movement as if he would have cleared
the space that kept him from his warriors; but the emphatical pointing
of the finger of Colonel de Haldimar to the levelled muskets of the men
in the block-houses prevented him, and the attempt was not repeated. It
was remarked by the officers, who also stood on the piazza, close
behind the chiefs, when the black warrior threw his tomahawk at the
governor, a shade of displeasure passed over the features of the
Ottawa; and that, when he found the daring attempt was not retaliated
on his people, his countenance had been momentarily lighted up with a
satisfied expression, apparently marking his sense of the forbearance
so unexpectedly shown.

"What says the great chief of the Ottawas now?" asked the governor
calmly, and breaking a profound silence that had succeeded to the last
fierce yell of the formidable being just departed. "Was the Saganaw not
right, when he said the Ottawa came with guile in his heart, and with a
lie upon his lips? But the Saganaw is not a fool, and he can read the
thoughts of his enemies upon their faces, and long before their lips
have spoken."

"Ugh!" ejaculated the Indian; "my father is a great chief, and his head
is full of wisdom. Had he been feeble, like the other chiefs of the
Saganaw, the strong-hold of the Detroit must have fallen, and the red
skins would have danced their war-dance round the scalps of his young
men, even in the council-room where they came to talk of peace."

"Does the great chief of the Ottawas see the big thunder of the
Saganaw?" pursued the governor: "if not, let him open his eyes and
look. The Saganaw has but to move his lips, and swifter than the
lightning would the pale faces sweep away the warriors of the Ottawa,
even where they now stand: in less time than the Saganaw is now
speaking, would they mow them down like the grass of the Prairie."

"Ugh!" again exclaimed the chief, with mixed doggedness and fierceness:
"if what my father says is true, why does he not pour out his anger
upon the red skins?"

"Let the great chief of the Ottawas listen," replied the governor with
dignity. "When the great chiefs of all the nations that are in league
with the Ottawas came last to the council, the Saganaw knew that they
carried deceit in their hearts, and that they never meant to smoke the
pipe of peace, or to bury the hatchet in the ground. The Saganaw might
have kept them prisoners, that their warriors might be without a head;
but he had given his word to the great chief of the Ottawas, and the
word of a Saganaw is never broken. Even now, while both the chiefs and
the warriors are in his power,--he will not slay them, for he wishes to
show the Ottawa the desire of the Saganaw is to be friendly with the
red skins, and not to destroy them. Wicked men from the Canadas have
whispered lies in the ear of the Ottawa; but a great chief should judge
for himself, and take council only from the wisdom of his own heart.
The Ottawa and his warriors may go," he resumed, after a short pause;
"the path by which they came is again open to them. Let them depart in
peace; the big thunder of the Saganaw shall not harm them."

The countenance of the Indian, who had clearly seen the danger of his
position, wore an expression of surprise which could not be dissembled:
low exclamations passed between him and his companions; and, then
pointing to the tomahawk that lay half buried in the wood, he said,

"It was the pale face, the friend of the great chief of the Ottawas,
who struck the hatchet at my father. The Ottawa is not a fool to
believe the Saganaw can sleep without revenge."

"The great chief of the Ottawas shall know us better," was the reply.
"The young warriors of the Saganaw might destroy their enemies where
they now stand, but they seek not their blood. When the Ottawa chief
takes council from his own heart, and not from the lips of a cowardly
dog of a pale face, who strikes his tomahawk and then flies, his wisdom
will tell him to make peace with the Saganaw, whose warriors are
without treachery, even as they are without fear."

Another of those deep interjectional "ughs" escaped the chest of the
proud Indian.

"What my father says is good," he returned; "but the pale face is a
great warrior, and the Ottawa chief is his friend. The Ottawa will go."

He then addressed a few sentences, in a tongue unknown to the officers,
to the swarthy and anxious crowd in front. These were answered by a
low, sullen, yet assentient grunt, from the united band, who now
turned, though with justifiable caution and distrust, and recrossed the
drawbridge without hinderance from the troops. Ponteac waited until the
last Indian had departed, and then making a movement to the governor,
which, with all its haughtiness, was meant to mark his sense of the
forbearance and good faith that had been manifested, once more stalked
proudly and calmly across the area, followed by the remainder of the
chiefs. The officers who were with the governor ascended to the
ramparts, to follow their movements; and it was not before their report
had been made, that the Indians were immerging once more into the heart
of the forest, the troops were withdrawn from their formidable
defences, and the gate of the fort again firmly secured.


While the reader is left to pause over the rapid succession of
incidents resulting from the mysterious entrance of the warrior of the
Fleur de lis into the English fort, be it our task to explain the
circumstances connected with the singular disappearance of Captain de
Haldimar, and the melancholy murder of his unfortunate servant.

It will be recollected that the ill-fated Halloway, in the course of
his defence before the court-martial, distinctly stated the voice of
the individual who had approached his post, calling on the name of
Captain de Haldimar, on the night of the alarm, to have been that of a
female, and that the language in which they subsequently conversed was
that of the Ottawa Indians. This was strictly the fact; and the only
error into which the unfortunate soldier had fallen, had reference
merely to the character and motives of the party. He had naturally
imagined, as he had stated, it was some young female of the village,
whom attachment for his officer had driven to the desperate
determination of seeking an interview; nor was this impression at all
weakened by the subsequent discourse of the parties in the Indian
tongue, with which it was well known most of the Canadians, both male
and female, were more or less conversant. The subject of that short,
low, and hurried conference was, indeed, one that well warranted the
singular intrusion; and, in the declaration of Halloway, we have
already seen the importance and anxiety attached by the young officer
to the communication. Without waiting to repeat the motives assigned
for his departure, and the prayers and expostulations to which he had
recourse to overcome the determination and sense of duty of the
unfortunate sentinel, let us pass at once to the moment when, after
having cleared the ditch, conjointly with his faithful follower, in the
manner already shown, Captain de Haldimar first stood side by side with
his midnight visitant.

The night, it has elsewhere been observed, was clear and starry, so
that objects upon the common, such as the rude stump that here and
there raised its dark low head above the surface, might be dimly seen
in the distance. To obviate the danger of discovery by the sentinels,
appeared to be the first study of the female; for, when Captain de
Haldimar, followed by his servant, had reached the spot on which she
stood, she put the forefinger of one hand to her lips, and with the
other pointed to his booted foot. A corresponding signal showed that
the lightness of the material offered little risk of betrayal.
Donellan, however, was made to doff his heavy ammunition shoes; and,
with this precaution, they all stole hastily along, under the shadows
of the projecting ramparts, until they had gained the extreme rear.
Here the female suddenly raised her tall figure from the stooping
position in which she, as well as her companions, had performed the
dangerous circuit; and, placing her finger once more significantly on
her lips, led in the direction of the bomb-proof, unperceived by the
sentinels, most of whom, it is probable, had, up to the moment of the
alarm subsequently given, been too much overcome by previous watching
and excitement to have kept the most vigilant look-out.

Arrived at the skirt of the forest, the little party drew up within the
shadow of the ruin, and a short and earnest dialogue ensued, in Indian,
between the female and the officer. This was succeeded by a command
from the latter to his servant, who, after a momentary but respectful
expostulation, which, however, was utterly lost on him to whom it was
addressed, proceeded to divest himself of his humble apparel, assuming
in exchange the more elegant uniform of his superior. Donellan, who was
also of the grenadiers, was remarkable for the resemblance he bore, in
figure, to Captain de Haldimar; wanting, it is true, the grace and
freedom of movement of the latter, but still presenting an outline
which, in an attitude of profound repose, might, as it subsequently
did, have set even those who were most intimate with the officer at

"This is well," observed the female, as the young man proceeded to
induct himself in the grey coat of his servant, having previously drawn
the glazed hat close over his waving and redundant hair: "if the
Saganaw is ready, Oucanasta will go."

"Sure, and your honour does not mane to lave me behind!" exclaimed the
anxious soldier, as his captain now recommended him to stand closely
concealed near the ruin until his return. "Who knows what ambuscade the
she-divil may not lade your honour into; and thin who will you have to
bring you out of it?"

"No, Donellan, it must not be: I first intended it, as you may perceive
by my bringing you out; but the expedition on which I am going is of
the utmost importance to us all, and too much precaution cannot be
taken. I fear no ambuscade, for I can depend on the fidelity of my
guide; but the presence of a third person would only embarrass, without
assisting me in the least. You must remain behind; the woman insists
upon it, and there is no more to be said."

"To ould Nick with the ugly winch, for her pains!" half muttered the
disappointed soldier to himself. "I wish it may be as your honour says;
but my mind misgives me sadly that evil will come of this. Has your
honour secured the pistols?"

"They are here," returned his captain, placing a hand on either chest.
"And now, Donellan, mark me: I know nothing that can detain me longer
than an hour; at least the woman assures me, and I believe her, that I
may be back then; but it is well to guard against accidents. You must
continue here for the hour, and for the hour only. If I come not then,
return to the fort without delay, for the rope must be removed, and the
gate secured, before Halloway is relieved. The keys you will find in
the pocket of my uniform: when you have done with them, let them be
hung up in their proper place in the guard-room. My father must not
know either that Halloway suffered me to pass the gate, or that you
accompanied me."

"Lord love us! your honour talks as if you nivir would return, giving
such a heap of orders!" exclaimed the startled man; "but if I go back
alone, as I trust in heaven I shall not, how am I to account for being
dressed in your honour's rigimintals?"

"I tell you, Donellan," impatiently returned the officer, "that I shall
be back; but I only wish to guard against accidents. The instant you
get into the fort, you will take off my clothes and resume your own.
Who the devil is to see you in the uniform, unless it be Halloway?"

"If the Saganaw would not see the earth red with the blood of his race,
he will go," interrupted the female. "Oucanasta can feel the breath of
the morning fresh upon her cheek, and the council of the chiefs must be

"The Saganaw is ready, and Oucanasta shall lead the way," hastily
returned the officer. "One word more, Donellan;" and he pressed the
hand of his domestic kindly: "should I not return, you must, without
committing Halloway or yourself, cause my father to be apprised that
the Indians meditate a deep and treacherous plan to get possession of
the fort. What that plan is, I know not yet myself, neither does this
woman know; but she says that I shall hear it discussed unseen, even in
the heart of their own encampment. All you have to do is to acquaint my
father with the existence of danger. And now be cautious: above all
things, keep close under the shadow of the bomb-proof; for there are
scouts constantly prowling about the common, and the glittering of the
uniform in the starlight may betray you."

"But why may I not follow your honour?" again urged the faithful
soldier; "and where is the use of my remaining here to count the stars,
and hear the 'All's well!' from the fort, when I could be so much
better employed in guarding your honour from harm? What sort of
protection can that Ingian woman afford, who is of the race of our
bitterest enemies, them cursed Ottawas, and your honour venturing, too,
like a spy into the very heart of the blood-hounds? Ah, Captain de
Haldimar, for the love of God, do not trust yourself alone with her, or
I am sure I shall never see your honour again!"

The last words (unhappily too prophetic) fell only on the ear of him
who uttered them. The female and the officer had already disappeared
round an abrupt angle of the bomb-proof; and the soldier, as directed
by his master, now drew up his tall figure against the ruin, where he
continued for a period immovable, as if he had been planted there in
his ordinary character of sentinel, listening, until they eventually
died away in distance, to the receding footsteps of his master; and
then ruminating on the several apprehensions that crowded on his mind,
in regard to the probable issue of his adventurous project.

Meanwhile, Captain de Haldimar and his guide trod the mazes of the
forest, with an expedition that proved the latter to be well acquainted
with its bearings. On quitting the bomb-proof, she had struck into a
narrow winding path, less seen than felt in the deep gloom pervading
the wood, and with light steps bounded over obstacles that lay strewed
in their course, emitting scarcely more sound than would have been
produced by the slimy crawl of its native rattlesnake. Not so, however,
with the less experienced tread of her companion. Wanting the pliancy
of movement given to it by the light mocassin, the booted foot of the
young officer, despite of all his precaution, fell heavily to the
ground, producing such a rustling among the dried leaves, that, had an
Indian ear been lurking any where around, his approach must inevitably
have been betrayed. More than once, too, neglecting to follow the
injunction of his companion, who moved in a stooping posture, with her
head bent over her chest, his hat was caught in the closely matted
branches, and fell sullenly and heavily to the earth, evidently much to
the discomfiture of his guide.

At length they stood on the verge of a dark and precipitous ravine, the
abrupt sides of which were studded with underwood, so completely
interwoven, that all passage appeared impracticable. What, however,
seemed an insurmountable obstacle, proved, in reality, an inestimable
advantage; for it was by clinging to this, in imitation of the example
set him by his companion, the young officer was prevented from rolling
into an abyss, the depth of which was lost in the profound obscurity
that pervaded the scene. Through the bed of this dark dell rolled a
narrow stream, so imperceptible to the eye in the "living darkness,"
and so noiseless in its course, that it was not until warned by his
companion he stood on the very brink of it, Captain de Haldimar was
made sensible of its existence. Both cleared it at a single bound, in
which the activity of the female was not the least conspicuous, and,
clambering up the opposite steep, secured their footing, by the aid of
the same underwood that had assisted them in their descent.

On gaining the other summit, which was not done without detaching
several loose stones from their sandy bed, they again, fell into the
path, which had been lost sight of in traversing the ravine. They had
proceeded along this about half a mile, when the female suddenly
stopped, and pointing to a dim and lurid atmosphere that now began to
show itself between the thin foliage, whispered that in the opening
beyond stood the encampment of the Indians. She then seated herself on
the trunk of a fallen tree, that lay at the side of the almost
invisible path they had hitherto pursued, and motioning to her
companion to unboot himself, proceeded to unlace the fastenings of her

"The foot of the Saganaw must fall like the night dew on the prairie,"
she observed: "the ear of the red skin is quicker than the lightning,
and he will know that a pale face is near, if he hear but his tread
upon a blade of grass."

Gallantry in the civilised man is a sentiment that never wholly
abandons him; and in whatever clime he may be thrown, or under whatever
circumstances he may be placed,--be it called forth by white or by
blackamoor,--it is certain to influence his conduct: it is a
refinement, of that instinctive deference to the weaker sex, which
nature has implanted in him for the wisest of purposes; and which,
while it tends to exalt those to whom its influence is extended, fails
not to reflect a corresponding lustre on himself.

The young officer had, at the first suggestion of his guide, divested
himself of his boots, prepared to perform the remainder of the journey
merely in his stockings, but his companion now threw herself on her
knees before him, and, without further ceremony, proceeded to draw over
his foot one of the mocassins she had just relinquished.

"The feet of the Saganaw are soft as those of a young child," she
remarked, in a voice of commiseration; "but the mocassins of Oucanasta
shall protect them from the thorns of the forest."

This was too un-European,--too much reversing the established order of
things, to be borne patiently. As if he had felt the dignity of his
manhood offended by the proposal, the officer drew his foot hastily
back, declaring, as he sprang from the log, he did not care for the
thorns, and could not think of depriving a female, who must be much
more sensible of pain than himself.

Oucanasta, however, was not to be outdone in politeness. She calmly
reseated herself on the log, drew her right foot over her left knee,
caught one of the hands of her companion, and placing it upon the naked
sole, desired him to feel how impervious to attack of every description
was that indurated portion of the lower limb.

This practical argument was not without its weight, and had more effect
in deciding the officer than a volume of remonstrance. Most men love to
render tribute to a delicate and pretty foot. Some, indeed, go so far
as to connect every thing feminine with these qualities, and to believe
that nothing can be feminine without them. For our parts, we confess,
that, although no enemies to a pretty foot, it is by no means a sine
qua non in our estimate of female perfection; being in no way disposed,
where the head and heart are gems, to undervalue these in consideration
of any deficiency in the heels. Captain de Haldimar probably thought
otherwise; for when he had passed his unwilling hand over the foot of
Oucanasta, which, whatever her face might have been, was certainly any
thing but delicate, and encountered numerous ragged excrescences and
raspy callosities that set all symmetry at defiance, a wonderful
revolution came over his feelings; and, secretly determining the
mocassins would be equally well placed on his own feet, he no longer
offered any opposition.

This important point arranged, the officer once more followed his guide
in silence. Gradually the forest, as they advanced, became lighter with
the lurid atmosphere before alluded to; and at length, through the
trees, could be indistinctly seen the Indian fires from which it
proceeded. The young man was now desired by his conductress to use the
utmost circumspection in making the circuit of the wood, in order to
gain a position immediately opposite to the point where the path they
had hitherto pursued terminated in the opening. This, indeed, was the
most dangerous and critical part of the undertaking. A false step, or
the crackling of a decayed branch beneath the foot, would have been
sufficient to betray proximity, in which case his doom was sealed.

Fortunate did he now deem himself in having yielded to the counsel of
his guide. Had he retained his unbending boot, it must have crushed
whatever it pressed; whereas, the pliant mocassin, yielding to the
obstacles it encountered, enabled him to pass noiselessly over them.
Still, while exempt from danger on this score, another, scarcely less
perplexing, became at every instant more obvious; for, as they drew
nearer to the point which the female sought to gain, the dim light of
the half-slumbering fires fell so immediately upon their path, that had
a single human eye been turned in that direction, their discovery was
inevitable. It was with a beating heart, to which mere personal fear,
however, was a stranger, that Captain de Haldimar performed this
concluding stage of his adventurous course; but, at a moment when he
considered detection unavoidable, and was arming himself with
resolution to meet the event, the female suddenly halted, placing, in
the act, the trunk of an enormous beech between her companion and the
dusky forms within, whose very breathing could be heard by the anxious
officer. Without uttering a word, she took his hand, and, drawing him
gently forward, disappeared altogether from his view. The young man
followed, and in the next moment found himself in the bowelless body of
the tree itself; into which, on the side of the encampment, both light
and sound were admitted by a small aperture formed by the natural decay
of the wood.

The Indian pressed her lips to the ear of her companion, and rather
breathed than said,--"The Saganaw will see and hear every thing from
this in safety; and what he hears let him treasure in his heart.
Oucanasta must go. When the council is over she will return, and lead
him back to his warriors."

With this brief intimation she departed, and so noiselessly, that the
young officer was not aware of her absence until some minutes of
silence had satisfied him she must be gone. His first care then was to
survey, through the aperture that lay in a level with his eye, the
character of the scene before him. The small plain, in which lay the
encampment of the Indians, was a sort of oasis of the forest, girt
round with a rude belt of underwood, and somewhat elevated, so as to
present the appearance of a mound, constructed on the first principles
of art. This was thickly although irregularly studded with tents, some
of which were formed of large coarse mats thrown over poles disposed in
a conical shape, while others were more rudely composed of the leafy
branches of the forest.

Within these groups of human forms lay, wrapped in their blankets,
stretched at their lazy length. Others, with their feet placed close to
the dying embers of their fires, diverged like so many radii from their
centre, and lay motionless in sleep, as if life and consciousness were
wholly extinct. Here and there was to be seen a solitary warrior
securing, with admirable neatness, and with delicate ligatures formed
of the sinew of the deer, the guiding feather, or fashioning the bony
barb of his long arrow; while others, with the same warlike spirit in
view, employed themselves in cutting and greasing small patches of
smoked deerskin, which were to secure and give a more certain direction
to the murderous bullet. Among the warriors were interspersed many
women, some of whom might be seen supporting in their laps the heavy
heads of their unconscious helpmates, while they occupied themselves,
by the firelight, in parting the long black matted hair, and
maintaining a destructive warfare against the pigmy inhabitants of that
dark region. These signs of life and activity in the body of the camp
generally were, however, but few and occasional; but, at the spot where
Captain de Haldimar stood concealed, the scene was different. At a few
yards from the tree stood a sort of shed, composed of tall poles placed
upright in the earth, and supporting a roof formed simply of rude
boughs, the foliage of which had been withered by time. This simple
edifice might be about fifty feet in circumference. In the centre
blazed a large fire that had been newly fed, and around this were
assembled a band of swarthy warriors, some twenty or thirty in number,
who, by their proud, calm, and thoughtful bearing, might at once be
known to be chiefs.

The faces of most of these were familiar to the young officer, who
speedily recognised them for the principals of the various tribes
Ponteac had leagued in arms against his enemies. That chief himself,
ever remarkable for his haughty eye and commanding gesture, was of the
number of those present; and, a little aloof from his inferiors, sat,
with his feet stretched towards the fire, and half reclining on his
side in an attitude of indolence; yet with his mind evidently engrossed
by deep and absorbing thought. From some observations that distinctly
met his ear, Captain de Haldimar gathered, the party were only awaiting
the arrival of an important character, without whose presence the
leading chief was unwilling the conference should begin. The period of
the officer's concealment had just been long enough to enable him to
fix all these particulars in his mind, when suddenly the faint report
of a distant rifle was heard echoing throughout the wood. This was
instantly succeeded by a second, that sounded more sharply on the ear;
and then followed a long and piercing cry, that brought every warrior,
even of those who slept, quickly to his feet.

An anxious interval of some minutes passed away in the fixed and
listening attitudes, which the chiefs especially had assumed, when a
noise resembling that of some animal forcing its way rapidly through
the rustling branches, was faintly heard in the direction in which the
shots had been fired. This gradually increased as it evidently
approached the encampment, and then, distinctly, could be heard the
light yet unguarded boundings of a human foot. At every moment the
rustling of the underwood, rapidly divided by the approaching form,
became more audible; and so closely did the intruder press upon the
point in which Captain de Haldimar was concealed, that that officer,
fancying he had been betrayed, turned hastily round, and, grasping one
of the pistols he had secreted in his chest, prepared himself for a
last and deadly encounter. An instant or two was sufficient to
re-assure him. The form glided hastily past, brushing the tree with its
garments in its course, and clearing, at a single bound, the belt of
underwood that divided the encampment from the tall forest, stood
suddenly among the group of anxious and expectant chiefs.

This individual, a man of tall stature, was powerfully made. He wore a
jerkin, or hunting-coat, of leather; and his arms were, a rifle which
had every appearance of having just been discharged, a tomahawk reeking
with blood, and a scalping-knife, which, in the hurry of some recent
service it had been made to perform, had missed its sheath, and was
thrust naked into the belt that encircled his loins. His countenance
wore an expression of malignant triumph; and as his eye fell on the
assembled throng, its self-satisfied and exulting glance seemed to give
them to understand he came not without credentials to recommend him to
their notice. Captain de Haldimar was particularly struck by the air of
bold daring and almost insolent recklessness pervading every movement
of this man; and it was difficult to say whether the haughtiness of
bearing peculiar to Ponteac himself, was not exceeded by that of this
herculean warrior.

By the body of chiefs his appearance had been greeted with a mere
general grunt of approbation; but the countenance of the leader
expressed a more personal interest. All seemed to expect he had
something of moment to communicate; but as it was not consistent with
the dignity of Indian etiquette to enquire, they waited calmly until it
should please their new associate to enter on the history of his
exploits. In pursuance of an invitation from Ponteac, he now took his
seat on the right hand of that chief, and immediately facing the tree,
from which Captain de Haldimar, strongly excited both by the reports of
the shots that had been fired, and the sight of the bloody tomahawk of
the recently arrived Indian, gazed earnestly and anxiously on the
swarthy throng.

Glancing once more triumphantly round the circle, who sat smoking their
pipes in calm and deliberative silence, the latter now observed the eye
of a young chief, who sat opposite to him, intently riveted on his left
shoulder. He raised his hand to the part, withdrew it, looked at it,
and found it wet with blood. A slight start of surprise betrayed his
own unconsciousness of the accident; yet, secretly vexed at the
discovery which had been made, and urged probably by one of his wayward
fits, he demanded haughtily and insultingly of the young chief, if that
was the first time he had ever looked on the blood of a warrior.

"Does my brother feel pain?" was the taunting reply. "If he is come to
us with a trophy, it is not without being dearly bought. The Saganaw
has spilt his blood."

"The weapons of the Saganaw, like those of the smooth face of the
Ottawa, are without sting," angrily retorted the other. "They only
prick the skin like a thorn; but when Wacousta drinks the blood of his
enemy," and he glanced his eye fiercely at the young man, "it is the
blood next his heart."

"My brother has always big words upon his lips," returned the young
chief, with a scornful sneer at the implied threat against himself.
"But where are his proofs?"

For a moment the eye of the party thus challenged kindled into flame,
while his lips were firmly compressed together; and as he half bent
himself forward, to scan with greater earnestness the features of his
questioner, his right hand sank to his left side, tightly grasping the
handle of his scalping-knife. The action was but momentary. Again he
drew himself up, puffed the smoke deliberately from his bloody
tomahawk, and, thrusting his right hand into his bosom, drew leisurely
forth a reeking scalp, which he tossed insolently across the fire into
the lap of the young chief. A loud and general "ugh!" testified the
approbation of the assembled group, at the unequivocal answer thus
given to the demand of the youth. The eye of the huge warrior sparkled
with a deep and ferocious exultation.

"What says the smooth face of the Ottawas now?" he demanded, in the
same insolent strain. "Does it make his heart sick to look upon the
scalp of a great chief?"

The young man quietly turned the horrid trophy over several times in
his hand, examining it attentively in every part. Then tossing it back
with contemptuous coolness to its owner, he replied,--

"The eyes of my brother are weak with age. He is not cunning, like a
red skin. The Ottawa has often seen the Saganaw in their fort, and he
knows their chiefs have fine hair like women; but this is like the
bristles of the fox. My brother has not slain a great chief, but a
common warrior."

A flush of irrepressible and threatening anger passed over the features
of the vast savage.

"Is it for a boy," he fiercely asked, "whose eyes know not yet the
colour of blood, to judge of the enemies that fall by the tomahawk of
Wacousta? but a great warrior never boasts of actions that he does not
achieve. It is the son of the great chief of the Saganaw whom he has
slain. If the smooth face doubts it, and has courage to venture, even
at night, within a hundred yards of the fort, he will see a Saganaw
without a scalp; and he will know that Saganaw by his dress--the
dress," he pursued, with a low emphatic laugh, "that Oucanasta, the
sister of the smooth face, loved so much to look upon."

Quicker than thought was the upspringing of the young Indian to his
feet. With a cheek glowing, an eye flashing, and his gleaming tomahawk
whirling rapidly round his head, he cleared at a single bound the fire
that separated him from his insulter. The formidable man who had thus
wantonly provoked the attack, was equally prompt in meeting it. At the
first movement of the youth, he too had leapt to his feet, and
brandished the terrible weapon that served in the double capacity of
pipe and hatchet. A fierce yell escaped the lips of each, as they thus
met in close and hostile collision, and the scene for the moment
promised to be one of the most tragic character; but before either
could find an assailable point on which to rest his formidable weapon,
Ponteac himself had thrown his person between them, and in a voice of
thunder commanded the instant abandonment of their purpose. Exasperated
even as they now mutually were, the influence of that authority, for
which the great chief of the Ottawas was well known, was not without
due effect on the combatants. His anger was principally directed
against the assailant, on whom the tones of his reproving voice
produced a change the intimidation of his powerful opponent could never
have effected. The young chief dropped the point of his tomahawk, bowed
his head in submission, and then resuming his seat, sat during the
remainder of the night with his arms folded, and his head bent in
silence over his chest.

"Our brother has done well," said Ponteac, glancing approvingly at him
who had exhibited the reeking trophy, and whom he evidently favoured.
"He is a great chief, and his words are truth. We heard the report of
his rifle, and we also heard the cry that told he had borne away the
scalp of an enemy. But we will think of this to-morrow. Let us now
commence our talk."

Our readers will readily imagine the feelings of Captain de Haldimar
during this short but exciting scene. From the account given by the
warrior, there could be no doubt the murdered man was the unhappy
Donellan; who, probably, neglecting the caution given him, had exposed
himself to the murderous aim of this fierce being, who was apparently a
scout sent for the purpose of watching the movements of the garrison.
The direction of the firing, the allusion made to the regimentals, nay,
the scalp itself, which he knew from the short crop to be that of a
soldier, and fancied he recognised from its colour to be that of his
servant, formed but too conclusive evidence of the fact; and, bitterly
and deeply, as he gazed on this melancholy proof of the man's sacrifice
of life to his interest, did he repent that he had made him the
companion of his adventure, or that, having done so, he had not either
brought him away altogether, or sent him instantly back to the fort.
Commiseration for the fate of the unfortunate Donellan naturally
induced a spirit of personal hostility towards his destroyer; and it
was with feelings strongly excited in favour of him whom he now
discovered to be the brother of his guide, that he saw him spring
fiercely to the attack of his gigantic opponent. There was an activity
about the young chief amply commensurate with the greater physical
power of his adversary; while the manner in which he wielded his
tomahawk, proved him to be any thing but the novice in the use of the
formidable weapon the other had represented him. It was with a feeling
of disappointment, therefore, which the peculiarity of his own position
could not overcome, he saw Ponteac interpose himself between the

Presently, however, a subject of deeper and more absorbing interest
than even the fate of his unhappy follower engrossed every faculty of
his mind, and riveted both eye and ear in painful tension to the
aperture in his hiding-place. The chiefs had resumed their places, and
the silence of a few minutes had succeeded to the fierce affray of the
warriors, when Ponteac, in a calm and deliberate voice, proceeded to
state he had summoned all the heads of the nations together, to hear a
plan he had to offer for the reduction of the last remaining forts of
their enemies, Michilimackinac and Detroit. He pointed out the
tediousness of the warfare in which they were engaged; the desertion of
the hunting-grounds by their warriors; and their consequent deficiency
in all those articles of European traffic which they were formerly in
the habit of receiving in exchange for their furs. He dwelt on the
beneficial results that would accrue to them all in the event of the
reduction of those two important fortresses; since, in that case, they
would be enabled to make such terms with the English as would secure to
them considerable advantages; while, instead of being treated with the
indignity of a conquered people, they would be enabled to command
respect from the imposing attitude this final crowning of their
successes would enable them to assume. He stated that the prudence and
vigilance of the commanders of these two unreduced fortresses were
likely long to baffle, as had hitherto been the case, every open
attempt at their capture; and admitted he had little expectation of
terrifying them into a surrender by the same artifice that had
succeeded with the forts on the Ohio and the lower lakes. The plan,
however, which he had to propose, was one he felt assured would be
attended with success. He would disclose that plan, and the great
chiefs should give it the advantage of their deliberation.

Captain de Haldimar was on the rack. The chief had gradually dropped
his voice as he explained his plan, until at length it became so low,
that undistinguishable sounds alone reached the ear of the excited
officer. For a moment he despaired of making himself fully master of
the important secret; but in the course of the deliberation that
ensued, the blanks left unsupplied in the discourse of the leader were
abundantly filled up. It was what the reader has already seen. The
necessities of the Indians were to be urged as a motive for their being
tired of hostilities. A peace was to be solicited; a council held; a
ball-playing among the warriors proposed, as a mark of their own
sincerity and confidence during that council; and when the garrison,
lulled into security, should be thrown entirely off their guard, the
warriors were to seize their guns and tomahawks, with which (the former
cut short, for the better concealment of their purpose) their women
would be provided, rush in, under pretext of regaining their lost ball,
when a universal massacre of men, women, and children was to ensue,
until nothing wearing the garb of a Saganaw should be left.

It would be tedious to follow the chief through all the minor
ramifications of his subtle plan. Suffice it they were of a nature to
throw the most wary off his guard; and so admirably arranged was every
part, so certain did it appear their enemies must give into the snare,
that the oldest chiefs testified their approbation with a vivacity of
manner and expression little wont to characterize the deliberative
meetings of these reserved people. But deepest of all was the approval
of the tall warrior who had so recently arrived. To him had the
discourse of the leader been principally directed, as one whose counsel
and experience were especially wanting to confirm him in his purpose.
He was the last who spoke; but, when he did, it was with a force--an
energy--that must have sunk every objection, even if the plan had not
been so perfect and unexceptionable in its concoction as to have
precluded a possibility of all negative argument. During the delivery
of his animated speech, his swarthy countenance kindled into fierce and
rapidly varying expression. A thousand dark and complicated passions
evidently struggled at his heart; and as he dwelt leisurely and
emphatically on the sacrifice of human life that must inevitably attend
the adoption of the proposed measure, his eye grew larger, his chest
expanded, nay, his very nostril appeared to dilate with unfathomably
guileful exultation. Captain de Haldimar thought he had never gazed on
any thing wearing the human shape half so atrociously savage.

Long before the council was terminated, the inferior warriors, who had
been so suddenly aroused from their slumbering attitudes, had again
retired to their tents, and stretched their lazy length before the
embers of their fires. The weary chiefs now prepared to follow their
example. They emptied the ashes from the bowls of their pipe-tomahawks,
replaced them carefully at their side, rose, and retired to their
respective tents. Ponteac and the tall warrior alone remained. For a
time they conversed earnestly together. The former listened attentively
to some observations made to him by his companion, in the course of
which, the words "chief of the Saganaw--fort--spy--enemy," and two or
three others equally unconnected, were alone audible to the ear of him
who so attentively sought to catch the slightest sound. He then thrust
his hand under his hunting-coat, and, as if in confirmation of what he
had been stating, exhibited a coil of rope and the glossy boot of an
English officer. Ponteac uttered one of his sharp ejaculating "ughs!"
and then rising quickly from his seat, followed by his companion, soon
disappeared in the heart of the encampment.


How shall we attempt to paint all that passed through the mind of
Captain de Haldimar during this important conference of the fierce
chiefs?--where find language to convey the cold and thrilling horror
with which he listened to the calm discussion of a plan, the object of
which was the massacre, not only of a host of beings endeared to him by
long communionship of service, but of those who were wedded to his
heart by the dearer ties of affection and kindred? As Ponteac had
justly observed, the English garrisons, strong in their own defences,
were little likely to be speedily reduced, while their enemies confined
themselves to overt acts of hostility; but, against their insidious
professions of amity who could oppose a sufficient caution? His father,
the young officer was aware, had all along manifested a spirit of
conciliation towards the Indians, which, if followed up by the
government generally, must have had the effect of preventing the cruel
and sanguinary war that had so recently desolated this remote part of
the British possessions. How likely, therefore, was it, having this
object always in view, he should give in to the present wily stratagem,
where such plausible motives for the abandonment of their hostile
purpose were urged by the perfidious chiefs! From the few hasty hints
already given him by his guide,--that kind being, who evidently sought
to be the saviour of the devoted garrisons,--he had gathered that a
deep and artful plan was to be submitted to the chiefs by their leader;
but little did he imagine it was of the finished nature it now proved
to be. Any other than the present attempt, the vigilance and prudence
of his experienced father, he felt, would have rendered abortive; but
there was so much speciousness in the pleas that were to be advanced in
furtherance of their assumed object, he could not but admit the almost
certainty of their influence, even on him.

Sick and discouraged as he was at the horrible perspective thus forced
on his mental view, the young officer had not, for some moments,
presence of mind to reflect that the danger of the garrison existed
only so long as he should be absent from it. At length, however, the
cheering recollection came, and with it the mantling rush of blood, to
his faint heart. But, short was the consoling hope: again he felt
dismay in every fibre of his frame; for he now reflected, that although
his opportune discovery of the meditated scheme would save one fort,
there was no guardian angel to extend, as in this instance, its
protecting influence to the other; and within that other there breathed
those who were dearer far to him than his own existence;--beings, whose
lives were far more precious to him than any even in the garrison of
which he was a member. His sister Clara, whom he loved with a love
little inferior to that of his younger brother; and one, even more
dearly loved than Clara,--Madeline de Haldimar, his cousin and
affianced bride,--were both inmates of Michilimackinac, which was
commanded by the father of the latter, a major in the ---- regiment.
With Madeline de Haldimar he had long since exchanged his vows of
affection; and their nuptials, which were to have taken place about the
period when the present war broke out, had only been suspended because
all communication between the two posts had been entirely cut off by
the enemy.

Captain de Haldimar had none of the natural weakness and timidity of
character which belonged to the gentler and more sensitive Charles.
Sanguine and full of enterprise, he seldom met evils half way; but when
they did come, he sought to master them by the firmness and
collectedness with which he opposed his mind to their infliction. If
his heart was now racked with the most acute suffering--his reason
incapacitated from exercising its calm deliberative power, the seeming
contradiction arose not from any deficiency in his character, but was
attributable wholly to the extraordinary circumstances of the moment.

It was a part of the profound plan of the Ottawa chief, that it should
be essayed on the two forts on the same day; and it was a suggestion of
the murderer of poor Donellan, that a parley should be obtained,
through the medium of a white flag, the nature of which he explained to
them, as it was understood among their enemies. If invited to the
council, then they were to enter, or not, as circumstances might
induce; but, in any case, they were to go unprovided with the pipe of
peace, since this could not be smoked without violating every thing
held most sacred among themselves. The red, or war-pipe, was to be
substituted as if by accident; and, for the success of the deception,
they were to presume on the ignorance of their enemies. This, however,
was not important, since the period of their first parley was to be the
moment chosen for the arrangement of a future council, and the proposal
of a ball-playing upon the common. Three days were to be named as the
interval between the first conference of Ponteac with the governor and
the definitive council which was to ensue; during which, however, it
was so arranged, that, before the lip of a red skin should touch the
pipe of peace, the ball-players should rush in and massacre the
unprepared soldiery, while the chiefs despatched the officers in

It was the proximity of the period allotted for the execution of their
cruel scheme that mainly contributed to the dismay of Captain de
Haldimar. The very next day was appointed for carrying into effect the
first part of the Indian plan: and how was it possible that a
messenger, even admitting he should elude the vigilance of the enemy,
could reach the distant post of Michilimackinac within the short period
on which hung the destiny of that devoted fortress. In the midst of the
confused and distracting images that now crowded on his brain, came at
length one thought, redolent with the brightest colourings of hope. On
his return to the garrison, the treachery of the Indians being made
known, the governor might so far, and with a view of gaining time, give
in to the plan of his enemies, as to obtain such delay as would afford
the chance of communication between the forts. The attempt, on the part
of those who should be selected for this purpose, would, it is true, be
a desperate one: still it must be made; and, with such incentives to
exertion as he had, how willingly would he propose his own services!

The more he dwelt on this mode of defeating the subtle designs of the
enemy, the more practicable did it appear. Of his own safe return to
the fort he entertained not a doubt; for he knew and relied on the
Indian woman, who was bound to him by a tie of gratitude, which her
conduct that night evidently denoted to be superior even to the
interests of her race. Moreover, as he had approached the encampment
unnoticed while the chiefs were yet awake to every thing around them,
how little probability was there of his return being detected while all
lay wrapped in the most profound repose. It is true that, for a moment,
his confidence deserted him as he recurred to the earnest dialogue of
the two Indians, and the sudden display of the rope and boot, the
latter of which articles he had at once recognised to be one of those
he had so recently worn; but his apprehensions on that score were again
speedily set to rest, when he reflected, had any suspicion existed in
the minds of these men that an enemy was lurking near them, a general
alarm would have been spread, and hundreds of warriors despatched to
scour the forest.

The night was now rapidly waning away, and already the cold damp air of
an autumnal morning was beginning to make itself felt. More than half
an hour had elapsed since the departure of Ponteac and his companion,
and yet Oucanasta came not. With a sense of the approach of day came
new and discouraging thoughts, and, for some minutes, the mind of the
young officer became petrified with horror, as he reflected on the bare
possibility of his escape being intercepted. The more he lingered on
this apprehension, the more bewildered were his ideas; and already, in
horrible perspective, he beheld the destruction of his nearest and
dearest friends, and the host of those who were humbler followers, and
partakers in the same destiny. Absolutely terrified with the misgivings
of his own heart, he, in the wildness and unconnectedness of his
purpose, now resolved to make the attempt to return alone, although he
knew not even the situation of the path he had so recently quitted. He
had actually moved a pace forward on his desperate enterprise, when he
felt a band touching the extended arm with which he groped to find the
entrance to his hiding-place. The unexpected collision sent a cold
shudder through his frame; and such was the excitement to which he had
worked himself up, it was not without difficulty he suppressed an
exclamation, that must inevitably have sealed his doom. The soft tones
of Oucanasta's voice re-assured him.

"The day will soon dawn," she whispered; "the Saganaw must go."

With the return of hope came the sense of all he owed to the
devotedness of this kind woman. He grasped the hand that still lingered
on his arm, pressed it affectionately in his own, and then placed it in
silence on his throbbing heart. The breathing of Oucanasta became
deeper, and the young officer fancied he could feel her trembling with
agitation. Again, however, and in a tone of more subdued expression,
she whispered that he must go.

There was little urging necessary to induce a prompt compliance with
the hint. Cautiously emerging from his concealment, Captain de Haldimar
now followed close in the rear of his guide, who took the same circuit
of the forest to reach the path that led towards the fort. This they
speedily gained, and then pursued their course in silence, until they
at length arrived at the log where the exchange of mocassins had been

"Here the Saganaw may take breath," she observed, as she seated herself
on the fallen tree; "the sleep of the red skin is sound, and there is
no one upon the path but Oucanasta."

Anxious as he felt to secure his return to the fort, there was an
implied solicitation in the tones of her to whom he owed so much, that
prevented Captain de Haldimar from offering an objection, which he
feared might be construed into slight.

For a moment or two the Indian remained with her arms folded, and her
head bent over her chest; and then, in a low, deep, but tremulous
voice, observed,--

"When the Saganaw saved Oucanasta from perishing in the angry waters,
there was a girl of the pale faces with him, whose skin was like the
snows of the Canadian winter, and whose hair was black like the fur of
the squirrel. Oucanasta saw," she pursued, dropping her voice yet
lower, "that the Saganaw was loved by the pale girl, and her own heart
was very sick, for the Saganaw had saved her life, and she loved him
too. But she knew she was very foolish, and that an Indian girl could
never be the wife of a handsome chief of the Saganaw; and she prayed to
the Great Spirit of the red skins to give her strength to overcome her
feelings; but the Great Spirit was angry with her, and would not hear
her." She paused a moment, and then abruptly demanded, "Where is that
pale girl now?"

Captain de Haldimar had often been rallied, not only by his
brother-officers, but even by his sister and Madeline de Haldimar
herself, on the conquest he had evidently made of the heart of this
Indian girl. The event to which she had alluded had taken place several
months previous to the breaking out of hostilities. Oucanasta was
directing her frail bark, one evening, along the shores of the Detroit,
when one of those sudden gusts of wind, so frequent in these countries,
upset the canoe, and left its pilot struggling amid the waves. Captain
de Haldimar, who happened to be on the bank at the moment with his
sister and cousin, was an eye-witness of her danger, and instantly flew
down the steep to her assistance. Being an excellent swimmer, he was
not long in gaining the spot, where, exhausted with the exertion she
had made, and encumbered with her awkward machecoti, the poor girl was
already on the point of perishing. But for his timely assistance,
indeed, she must have sunk to the bottom; and, since that period, the
grateful being had been remarked for the strong but unexpressed
attachment she felt for her deliverer. This, however, was the first
moment Captain de Haldimar became acquainted with the extent of
feelings, the avowal of which not a little startled and surprised, and
even annoyed him. The last question, however, suggested a thought that
kindled every fibre of his being into expectancy,--Oucanasta might be
the saviour of those he loved; and he felt that, if time were but
afforded her, she would. He rose from the log, dropped on one knee
before the Indian, seized both her hands with eagerness, and then in
tones of earnest supplication whispered,--

"Oucanasta is right: the pale girl with the skin like snow, and hair
like the fur of the squirrel, is the bride of the Saganaw. Long before
he saved the life of Oucanasta, he knew and loved that pale girl. She
is dearer to the Saganaw than his own blood; but she is in the fort
beyond the great lake, and the tomahawks of the red skins will destroy
her; for the warriors of that fort have no one to tell them of their
danger. What says the red girl? will she go and save the lives of the
sister and the wife of the Saganaw."

The breathing of the Indian became deeper; and Captain de Haldimar
fancied she sighed heavily, as she replied,--

"Oucanasta is but a weak woman, and her feet are not swift like those
of a runner among the red skins; but what the Saganaw asks, for his
sake she will try. When she has seen him safe to his own fort, she will
go and prepare herself for the journey. The pale girl shall lay her
head on the bosom of the Saganaw, and Oucanasta will try to rejoice in
her happiness."

In the fervour of his gratitude, the young officer caught the drooping
form of the generous Indian wildly to his heart; his lips pressed hers,
and during the kiss that followed, the heart of the latter bounded and
throbbed, as if it would have passed from her own into the bosom of her

Never was a kiss less premeditated, less unchaste. Gratitude, not
passion, had called it forth; and had Madeline de Haldimar been near at
the moment, the feeling that had impelled the seeming infidelity to
herself would have been regarded as an additional claim on her
affection. On the whole, however, it was a most unfortunate and
ill-timed kiss, and, as is often the case under such circumstances, led
to the downfall of the woman. In the vivacity of his embrace, Captain
de Haldimar had drawn his guide so far forward upon the log, that she
lost her balance, and fell with a heavy and reverberating crash among
the leaves and dried sticks that were strewed thickly around.

Scarcely a second elapsed when the forest was alive with human yells,
that fell achingly on the ears of both; and bounding warriors were
heard on every hand, rapidly dividing the dense underwood they
encountered in their pursuit.

Quick as thought the Indian had regained her feet. She grasped the hand
of her companion; and hurrying, though not without caution, along the
path, again stood on the brow of the ravine through which they had
previously passed.

"The Saganaw must go alone," she whispered. "The red skins are close
upon our trail, but they will find only an Indian woman, when they
expect a pale face. Oucanasta will save her friend."

Captain de Haldimar did as he was desired. Clinging to the bushes that
lined the face of the precipitous descent, he managed once more to gain
the bed of the ravine. For a moment he paused to listen to the sounds
of his pursuers, whose footsteps were now audible on the eminence he
had just quitted; and then, gathering himself up for the leap that was
to enable him to clear the rivulet, he threw himself heavily forward.
His feet alighted upon an elevated and yielding substance, that gave
way with a crashing sound that echoed far and near throughout the
forest, and he felt himself secured as if in a trap. Although
despairing of escape, he groped with his hands to discover what it was
that thus detained him, and found he had fallen through a bark canoe,
the bottom of which had been turned upwards. The heart of the fugitive
now sank within him: there could be no doubt that his retreat was
intercepted. The canoe had been placed there since he last passed
through the ravine: and it was evident, from the close and triumphant
yell that followed the rending of the frail bark, such a result had
been anticipated.

Stunned as he was by the terrific cries of the savages, and confused as
were his ideas, Captain de Haldimar had still presence of mind to
perceive the path itself offered him no further security. He therefore
quitted it altogether, and struck, in an oblique direction, up the
opposite face of the ravine. Scarcely had he gone twenty yards, when he
heard the voices of several Indians conversing earnestly near the canoe
he had just quitted; and presently afterwards he could distinctly hear
them ascending the opposite brow of the ravine by the path he recently
congratulated himself on having abandoned. To advance or to recede was
now equally impracticable; for, on every side, he was begirt by
enemies, into whose hands a single false step must inevitably betray
him. What would he not have given for the presence of Oucanasta, who
was so capable of advising him in this difficulty! but, from the moment
of his descending into the ravine, he had utterly lost sight of her.

The spot on which he now rested was covered with thick brushwood,
closely interwoven at their tops, but affording sufficient space
beneath for a temporary close concealment; so that, unless some Indian
should touch him with his foot, there was little seeming probability of
his being discovered by the eye. Under this he crept, and lay,
breathless and motionless, with his head raised from the ground, and
his ear on the stretch for the slightest noise. For several minutes he
remained in this position, vainly seeking to catch the sound of a
voice, or the fall of a footstep; but the most deathlike silence had
succeeded to the fierce yellings that had so recently rent the forest.
At times he fancied he could distinguish faint noises in the direction
of the encampment; and so certain was he of this, he at length came to
the conclusion that the Indians, either baffled in their search, had
relinquished the pursuit, or, having encountered Oucanasta, had been
thrown on a different scent. His first intention had been to lie
concealed until the following night, when the warriors, no longer on
the alert, should leave the path once more open to him; but now that
the conviction of their return was strong on his mind, he changed his
determination, resolving to make the best of his way to the fort with
the aid of the approaching dawn. With this view he partly withdrew his
body from beneath its canopy of underwood; but, scarcely had he done
so, when a hundred tongues, like the baying of so many blood-hounds,
again rent the air with their wild cries, which seemed to rise up from
the very bowels of the earth, and close to the appalled ear of the
young officer.

Scarcely conscious of what he did, Captain de Haldimar grasped one of
his pistols, for he fancied he felt the hot breathing of human life
upon his cheek. With a sickly sensation of fear, he turned to satisfy
himself whether it was not an illusion of his heated imagination. What,
however, was his dismay, when he beheld bending over him a dark and
heavy form, the outline of which alone was distinguishable in the deep
gloom in which the ravine remained enveloped! Desperation was in the
heart of the excited officer: he cocked his pistol; but scarcely had
the sharp ticking sound floated on the air, when he felt a powerful
hand upon his chest; and, with as much facility as if he had been a
child, was he raised by that invisible hand to his feet. A dozen
warriors now sprang to the assistance of their comrade, when the whole,
having disarmed and bound their prisoner, led him back in triumph to
their encampment.


The fires of the Indians were nearly now extinct; but the faint light
of the fast dawning day threw a ghastly, sickly, hue over the
countenances of the savages, which rendered them even more terrific in
their war paint. The chiefs grouped themselves immediately around their
prisoner, while the inferior warriors, forming an outer circle, stood
leaning their dark forms upon their rifles, and following, with keen
and watchful eye, every movement of their captive. Hitherto the
unfortunate officer had been too much engrossed by his despair to pay
any immediate attention to the individual who had first discovered and
seized him. It was sufficient for him to know all hope of the safety of
the garrison had perished with his captivity: and, with that
recklessness of life which often springs from the very consciousness of
inability to preserve it, he now sullenly awaited the death which he
expected at each moment would be inflicted. Suddenly his ear was
startled by an interrogatory, in English, from one who stood behind him.

With a movement of surprise, Captain de Haldimar turned to examine his
questioner. It was the dark and ferocious warrior who had exhibited the
scalp of his ill-fated servant. For a moment the officer fixed his eyes
firmly and unshrinkingly on those of the savage, seeking to reconcile
the contradiction that existed between his dress and features and the
purity of the English he had just spoken. The other saw his drift, and,
impatient of the scrutiny, again repeated, as he fiercely pulled the
strong leathern thong by which the prisoner now found himself secured
to his girdle,--

"Who and what are you?--whence come you?--and for what purpose are you
here?" Then, as if struck by some sudden recollection, he laid his hand
upon the shoulder of his victim; and, while his eye grew upon his
features, he pursued, in a tone of vehemence,--"Ha! by Heaven, I should
know that face!--the cursed lines of the blood of De Haldimar are
stamped upon that brow! But stay, one proof and I am satisfied." While
he yet spoke he dashed the menial hat of his captive to the earth, put
aside his hair, and then, with fiendish exultation, pursued,--"It is
even so. Do you recollect the battle of the plains of Abraham, Captain
de Haldimar?--Recollect you the French officer who aimed so desperately
at your life, and whose object was defeated by a soldier of your
regiment? I am that officer: my victim escaped me then, but not for
ever. The hour of vengeance is nearly now arrived, and your capture is
the pledge of my success. Hark, how the death-cry of all his hated race
will ring in madness on your father's ear!"

Amazement, stupefaction, and horror, filled the mind of the wretched
officer at this extraordinary declaration. He perfectly recollected
that the individual who had evinced so much personal hostility on the
occasion alluded to, was indeed a man wearing the French uniform,
although at the head of a band of savages, and of a stature and
strength similar to those of him who now so fiercely avowed himself the
bitter and deadly foe of all his race. If this were so, and his tone
and language left little room for doubt, the doom of the ill-fated
garrison was indeed irrevocably sealed. This mysterious enemy evidently
possessed great influence in the councils of the Indians; and while the
hot breath of his hatred continued to fan the flame of fierce hostility
that had been kindled in the bosom of Ponteac, whose particular friend
he appeared to be, there would be no end to the atrocities that must
follow. Great, however, as was the dismay of Captain de Haldimar, who,
exhausted with the adventures of the night, presented a ghastly image
of anxiety and fatigue, it was impossible for him to repress the
feelings of indignation with which the language of this fierce man had
inspired him.

"If you are in reality a French officer," he said, "and not an
Englishman, as your accent would denote, the sentiments you have now
avowed may well justify the belief, that you have been driven with
ignominy from a service which your presence must eternally have
disgraced. There is no country in Europe that would willingly claim you
for its subject. Nay, even the savage race, with whom you are now
connected, would, if apprised of your true nature, spurn you as a thing
unworthy to herd even with their wolf-dogs."

A fierce sardonic laugh burst from the lips of the warrior, but this
was so mingled with rage as to give an almost devilish expression to
his features.

"Ignominy--ignominy!" he repeated, while his right hand played
convulsively with the handle of his tomahawk; "is it for a De Haldimar
to taunt me with ignominy? Fool!" he pursued, after a momentary pause,
"you have sealed your doom." Then abruptly quitting the handle of his
weapon, he thrust his hand into his bosom, and again drawing forth the
reeking scalp of Donellan, he dashed it furiously in the face of his
prisoner. "Not two hours since," he exclaimed, "I cheered myself with
the thought that the scalp of a De Haldimar was in my pouch. Now,
indeed, do I glory in my mistake. The torture will be a more fitting
death for you."

Had an arm of the insulted soldier been at liberty, the offence would
not have gone unavenged even there; for such was the desperation of his
heart, that he felt he could have hugged the death struggle with his
insolent captor, notwithstanding the fearful odds, nor quitted him
until one or both should have paid the debt of fierce enmity with life.
As it was he could only betray, by his flashing eye, excited look, and
the impatient play of his foot upon the ground, the deep indignation
that consumed his heart.

The tall savage exulted in the mortification he had awakened, and as
his eye glanced insolently from head to foot along his enemy, its
expression told how much he laughed at the impotence of his anger.
Suddenly, however, a change passed over his features. The mocassin of
the officer had evidently attracted his attention, and he now demanded,
in a more serious and imperative tone,--

"Ha! what means this disguise? Who is the wretch whom I have slain,
mistaking him for a nobler victim; and how comes it that an officer of
the English garrison appears here in the garb of a servant? By heaven,
it is so! you are come as a spy into the camp of the Indians to steal
away the councils of the chiefs. Speak, what have you heard?"

With these questions returned the calm and self-possession of the
officer. He at once saw the importance of his answer, on which hung not
merely his own last faint chance of safety, but that also of his
generous deliverer. Struggling to subdue the disgust which he felt at
holding converse with this atrocious monster, he asked in turn,--

"Am I then the only one whom the warriors have overtaken in their

"There was a woman, the sister of that boy," and he pointed
contemptuously to the young chief who had so recently assailed him, and
who now, in common with his followers, stood impatiently listening to a
colloquy that was unintelligible to all. "Speak truly, was SHE not the
traitress who conducted you here?"

"Had you found me here," returned the officer, with difficulty
repressing his feelings, "there might have been some ground for the
assertion; but surely the councils of the chiefs could not be overheard
at the distant point at which you discovered me."

"Why then were you there in this disguise?--and who is he," again
holding up the bloody scalp, "whom I have despoiled of this?"

"There are few of the Ottawa Indians," returned Captain de Haldimar,
"who are ignorant I once saved that young woman's life. Is it then so
very extraordinary an attachment should have been the consequence? The
man whom you slew was my servant. I had brought him out with me for
protection during my interview with the woman, and I exchanged my
uniform with him for the same purpose. There is nothing in this,
however, to warrant the supposition of my being a spy."

During the delivery of these more than equivocal sentences, which,
however, he felt were fully justified by circumstances, the young
officer had struggled to appear calm and confident; but, despite of his
exertions, his consciousness caused his cheek to colour, and his eye to
twinkle, beneath the searching glance of his ferocious enemy. The
latter thrust his hand into his chest, and slowly drew forth the rope
he had previously exhibited to Ponteac.

"Do you think me a fool, Captain de Haldimar," he observed, sneeringly,
"that you expect so paltry a tale to be palmed successfully on my
understanding? An English officer is not very likely to run the risk of
breaking his neck by having recourse to such a means of exit from a
besieged garrison, merely to intrigue with an Indian woman, when there
are plenty of soldiers' wives within, and that too at an hour when he
knows the scouts of his enemies are prowling in the neighbourhood.
Captain de Haldimar," he concluded, slowly and deliberately, "you have

Despite of the last insult, his prisoner remained calm. The very
observation that had just been made afforded him a final hope of
exculpation, which, if it benefited not himself, might still be of
service to the generous Oucanasta.

"The onus of such language," he observed coolly and with dignity,
"falls not on him to whom it is addressed, but on him who utters it.
Yet one who professes to have been himself a soldier, must see in this
very circumstance a proof of my innocence. Had I been sent out as a spy
to reconnoitre the movements, and to overhear the councils of our
enemies, the gate would have been open for my egress; but that rope is
in itself an evidence I must have stolen forth unknown to the garrison."

Whether it was that the warrior had his own particular reasons for
attaching truth to this statement, or that he merely pretended to do
so, Captain de Haldimar saw with secret satisfaction his last argument
was conclusive.

"Well, be it so," retorted the savage, while a ferocious smile passed
over his swarthy features; "but, whether you have been here as a spy,
or have merely ventured out in prosecution of an intrigue, it matters
not. Before the sun has travelled far in the meridian you die; and the
tomahawk of your father's deadly foe--of--of--of Wacousta, as I am
called, shall be the first to drink your blood."

The officer made a final effort at mercy. "Who or what you are, or
whence your hatred of my family, I know not," he said; "but surely I
have never injured you: wherefore, then, this insatiable thirst for my
blood? If you are, indeed, a Christian and a soldier, let your heart be
touched with humanity, and procure my restoration to my friends. You
once attempted my life in honourable combat, why not wait, then, until
a fitting opportunity shall give not a bound and defenceless victim to
your steel, but one whose resistance may render him a conquest worthy
of your arm?"

"What! and be balked of the chance of my just revenge? Hear me, Captain
de Haldimar," he pursued, in that low, quick, deep tone that told all
the strong excitement of his heart:--"I have, it is true, no particular
enmity to yourself, further than that you are a De Haldimar; but hell
does not supply a feeling half so bitter as my enmity to your proud
father; and months, nay years, have I passed in the hope of such an
hour as this. For this have I forsworn my race, and become--what you
now behold me--a savage both in garb and character. But this matters
not," he continued, fiercely and impatiently, "your doom is sealed; and
before another sun has risen, your stern father's gaze shall be blasted
with the sight of the mangled carcase of his first born. Ha! ha! ha!"
and he laughed low and exultingly; "even now I think I see him
withering, if heart so hard can wither, beneath this proof of my
undying hate."

"Fiend!--monster!--devil!" exclaimed the excited officer, now losing
sight of all considerations of prudence in the deep horror inspired by
his captor:--"Kill me--torture me--commit any cruelty on me, if such be
your savage will; but outrage not humanity by the fulfilment of your
last disgusting threat. Suffer not a father's heart to be agonised--a
father's eye to be blasted--with a view of the mangled remains of him
to whom he has given life."

Again the savage rudely pulled the thong that bound his prisoner to his
girdle, and removing his tomahawk from his belt, and holding its
sullied point close under the eye of the former, exclaimed, as he bent
eagerly over him,--

"See you this, Captain de Haldimar? At the still hour of midnight,
while you had abandoned your guard to revel in the arms of your Indian
beauty, I stole into the fort by means of the same rope that you had
used in quitting it. Unseen by the sentinels I gained your father's
apartment. It was the first time we had met for twenty years; and I do
believe that had the very devil presented himself in my place, he would
have been received with fewer marks of horror. Oh, how that proud man's
eye twinkled beneath this glittering blade! He attempted to call out,
but my look paralysed his tongue, and cold drops of sweat stole rapidly
down his brow and cheek. Then it was that my seared heart once more
beat with the intoxication of triumph. Your father was alone and
unarmed, and throughout the fort not a sound was to be heard, save the
distant tread of the sentinels. I could have laid him dead, at my feet
at a single blow, and yet have secured my retreat. But no, that was not
my object. I came to taunt him with the promise of my revenge--to tell
him the hour of my triumph was approaching fast; and, ha!" he
concluded, laughing hideously as he passed his large rude hand through
the wavy hair of the now uncovered officer, "this is, indeed, a fair
and unexpected first earnest of the full redemption of my pledge.
No--no!" he continued, as if talking to himself, "he must not die.
Tantulus-like, he shall have death ever apparently within his grasp;
but, until all his race have perished before his eyes, he shall not
attain it."

Hitherto the Indians had preserved an attitude of calm, listening to
the interrogatories put to the prisoner with that wonder and curiosity
with which a savage people hear a language different from their own;
and marking the several emotions that were elicited in the course of
the animated colloquy of the pale faces. Gradually, however, they
became impatient under its duration; and many of them, in the
excitement produced by the fierce manner of him who was called
Wacousta, fixed their dark eyes upon the captive, while they grasped
the handles of their tomahawks, as if they would have disputed with the
former the privilege of dying his weapon first in his blood. When they
saw the warrior hold up his menacing blade to the eye of his victim,
while he passed his hand through the redundant hair, they at once
inferred the sacrifice was about to be completed, and rushing furiously
forward, they bounded, and leaped, and yelled, and brandished their own
weapons in the most appalling manner.

Already had the unhappy officer given himself self up for lost; fifty
bright tomahawks were playing about his head at the same instant, and
death--that death which is never without terror to the young, however
brave they may be in the hour of generous conflict--seemed to have
arrived at last. He raised his eyes to Heaven, committing his soul to
his God in the same silent prayer that he offered up for the
preservation of his friends and comrades; and then bending them upon
the earth, summoned all his collectedness and courage to sustain him
through the trial. At the very moment, however when he expected to feel
the crashing steel within his brain, he felt himself again violently
pulled by the thong that secured his hands. In the next instant he was
pressed close to the chest of his vast enemy, who, with one arm
encircling his prisoner, and the other brandishing his fierce blade in
rapid evolutions round his head, kept the yelling band at bay, with the
evident unshaken determination to maintain his sole and acknowledged
right to the disposal of his captive.

For several moments the event appeared doubtful; but, notwithstanding
his extreme agility in the use of a weapon, in the management of which
he evinced all the dexterity of the most practised native, the odds
were fearfully against Wacousta; and while his flashing eye and
swelling chest betrayed his purpose rather to perish himself than
suffer the infringement of his claim, it was evident that numbers must,
in the end, prevail against him. On an appeal to Ponteac, however, of
which he now suddenly bethought himself, the authority of the latter
was successfully exerted, and he was again left in the full and
undisturbed possession of his prisoner.

A low and earnest conversation now ensued among the chiefs, in which,
as before, Wacousta bore a principal part. When this was terminated,
several Indians approached the unhappy officer, and unfastening the
thong with which his hands were firmly and even painfully girt,
deprived him both of coat, waistcoat, and shirt. He was then bound a
second time in the same manner, his body besmeared with paint, and his
head so disguised as to give him the caricature semblance of an Indian
warrior. When these preparations were completed, he was led to the tree
in which he had been previously concealed, and there firmly secured.
Meanwhile Wacousta, at the head of a numerous band of warriors, had
departed once more in the direction of the fort.

With the rising of the sun now vanished all traces of the mist that had
fallen since the early hours of morning, leaving the unfortunate
officer ample leisure to survey the difficulties of his position. He
had fancied, from the course taken by his guide the previous night,
that the plain or oasis, as we have elsewhere termed it, lay in the
very heart of the forest; but that route now proved to have been
circuitous. The tree to which he was bound was one of a slight belt,
separating the encampment from the open grounds which extended towards
the river, and which was so thin and scattered on that side as to leave
the clear silver waters of the Detroit visible at intervals. Oh, what
would he not have given, at that cheering sight, to have had his limbs
free, and his chance of life staked on the swiftness of his flight!
While he had imagined himself begirt by interminable forest, he felt as
one whose very thought to elude those who were, in some degree, the
deities of that wild scene, must be paralysed in its first conception.
But here was the vivifying, picture of civilised nature. Corn fields,
although trodden down and destroyed--dwelling houses, although burnt or
dilapidated--told of the existence of those who were of the same race
with himself; and notwithstanding these had perished even as he must
perish, still there was something in the aspect of the very ruins of
their habitations which, contrasted with the solemn gloom of the
forest, carried a momentary and indefinable consolation to his spirit.
Then there was the ripe and teeming orchard, and the low whitewashed
cabin of the Canadian peasant, to whom the offices of charity, and the
duties of humanity, were no strangers; and who, although the secret
enemies of his country, had no motive for personal hostility towards
himself. Then, on the river itself, even at that early hour, was to be
seen, fastened to the long stake driven into its bed, or secured by the
rude anchor of stone appended to a cable of twisted bark, the light
canoe or clumsy periagua of the peasant fisherman, who, ever and anon,
drew up from its deep bosom the shoal-loving pickerel or pike, or white
or black bass, or whatever other tenant of these waters might chance to
affix itself to the traitorous hook. It is true that his view of these
objects was only occasional and indistinct; but his intimate
acquaintance with the localities beyond brought every thing before
Captain de Haldimar's eye; and even while he sighed to think they were
for ever cut off from his reach, he already, in idea, followed the
course of flight he should pursue were the power but afforded him.

From this train of painful and exciting thought the wretched captive
was aroused, by a faint but continued yelling in a distant part of the
forest, and in the direction that had been taken by Wacousta and his
warriors. Then, after a short interval, came the loud booming of the
cannon of the fort, carried on with a spirit and promptitude that told
of some pressing and dangerous emergency, and fainter afterwards the
sharp shrill reports of the rifles, bearing evidence the savages were
already in close collision with the garrison. Various were the
conjectures that passed rapidly through the mind of the young officer,
during a firing that had called almost every Indian in the encampment
away to the scene of action, save the two or three young Ottawas who
had been left to guard his own person, and who lay upon the sward near
him, with head erect and ear sharply set, listening to the startling
sounds of conflict. What the motive of the hurried departure of the
Indians was he knew not; but he had conjectured the object of the
fierce Wacousta was to possess himself of the uniform in which his
wretched servant was clothed, that no mistake might occur in his
identity, when its true owner should be exhibited in it, within view of
the fort, mangled and disfigured, in the manner that fierce and
mysterious man had already threatened. It was exceedingly probable the
body of Donellan had been mistaken for his own, and that in the anxiety
of his father to prevent the Indians from carrying it off, the cannon
had been directed to open upon them. But if this were the case, how
were the reports of the rifles, and the fierce yellings that continued,
save at intervals, to ring throughout the forest to be accounted for?
The bullets of the Indians evidently could not reach the fort, and they
were too wily, and attached too much value to their ammunition, to risk
a shot that was not certain of carrying a wound with it. For a moment
the fact itself flashed across his mind, and he attributed the fire of
small arms to the attack and defence of a party that had been sent out
for the purpose of securing the body, supposed to be his own; yet, if
so, again how was he to account for his not hearing the report of a
single musket? His ear was too well practised not to know the sharp
crack of the rifle from the heavy dull discharge of the musket, and as
yet the former only had been distinguishable, amid the intervals that
ensued between each sullen booming of the cannon. While this impression
continued on the mind of the anxious officer, he caught, with the
avidity of desperation, at the faint and improbable idea that his
companions might be able to penetrate to his place of concealment, and
procure his liberation; but when he found the firing, instead of
drawing nearer, was confined to the same spot, and even more fiercely
kept up by the Indians towards the close, he again gave way to his
despair, and resigning himself to his fate, no longer sought comfort in
vain speculation as to its cause. His ear now caught the report of the
last shell as it exploded, and then all was still and hushed, as if
what he had so recently heard was but a dream.

The first intimation given him of the return of the savages was the
death howl, set up by the women within the encampment. Captain de
Haldimar turned his eyes, instinct with terror, towards the scene, and
beheld the warriors slowly issuing from the opposite side of the forest
into the plain, and bearing in silence the dead and stiffened forms of
those who had been cut down by the destructive fire from the fort.
Their mien was sullen and revengeful, and more than one dark and
gleaming eye did he encounter turned upon him, with an expression that
seemed to say a separate torture should avenge the death of each of
their fallen comrades.

The early part of the morning wore away in preparation for the
interment of the slain. These were placed in rows under the council
shed, where they were attended by their female relatives, who composed
the features and confined the limbs, while the gloomy warriors dug,
within the limit of the encampment, rude graves, of a depth just
sufficient to receive the body. When these were completed, the dead
were deposited, with the usual superstitious ceremonies of these
people, in their several receptacles, after which a mound of earth was
thrown up over each, and the whole covered with round logs, so disposed
as to form a tomb of semicircular shape: at the head of each grave was
finally planted a pole, bearing various devices in paint, intended to
illustrate the warlike achievements of the defunct parties.

Captain de Haldimar had followed the course of these proceedings with a
beating heart; for too plainly had he read in the dark and threatening
manner both of men and women, that the retribution about to be wreaked
upon himself would be terrible indeed. Much as he clung to life, and
bitterly as he mourned his early cutting off from the affections
hitherto identified with his existence, his wretchedness would have
been less, had he not been overwhelmed by the conviction that, with
him, must perish every chance of the safety of those, the bare
recollection of whom made the bitterness of death even more bitter.
Harrowing as were these reflections, he felt that immediate
destruction, since it could not be avoided, would be rather a blessing
than otherwise. But such, evidently, was not the purpose of his
relentless enemy. Every species of torment which his cruel invention
could supply would, he felt convinced, be exercised upon his frame; and
with this impression on his mind, it would have required sterner nerves
than his, not to have shrunk from the very anticipation of so dreadful
an ordeal.

It was now noon, and yet no visible preparation was making for the
consummation of the sacrifice. This, Captain de Haldimar imputed to the
absence of the fierce Wacousta, whom he had not seen since the return
of the warriors from their skirmish. The momentary disappearance of
this extraordinary and ferocious man was, however, fraught with no
consolation to his unfortunate prisoner, who felt he was only engaged
in taking such measures as would render not only his destruction more
certain, but his preliminary sufferings more complicated and
protracted. While he was thus indulging in fruitless speculation as to
the motive for his absence, he fancied he heard the report of a rifle,
succeeded immediately afterwards by the war-whoop, at a considerable
distance, and in the direction of the river. In this impression he was
confirmed, by the sudden upstarting to their feet of the young Indians
to whose custody he had been committed, who now advanced to the outer
edge of the belt of forest, with the apparent object of obtaining a
more unconfined view of the open ground that lay beyond. The rapid
gliding of spectral forms from the interior of the encampment in the
same direction, denoted, moreover, that the Indians generally had
heard, and were attracted by the same sound.

Presently afterwards, repeated "waughs!" and "Wacousta!--Wacousta!"
from those who had reached the extreme skirt of the forest, fell on the
dismayed ear of the young officer. It was evident, from the peculiar
tones in which these words were pronounced, that they beheld that
warrior approaching them with some communication of interest; and, sick
at heart, and filled with irrepressible dismay, Captain de Haldimar
felt his pulse to throb more violently as each moment brought his enemy
nearer to him.

A startling interest was now created among the Indians; for, as the
savage warrior neared the forest, his lips pealed forth that peculiar
cry which is meant to announce some intelligence of alarm. Scarcely had
its echoes died away in the forest, when the whole of the warriors
rushed from the encampment towards the clearing. Directed by the sound,
Captain de Haldimar bent his eyes upon the thin skirt of wood that lay
immediately before him, and at intervals could see the towering form of
that vast warrior bounding, with incredible speed, up the sloping
ground that led from the town towards the forest. A ravine lay before
him; but this he cleared, with a prodigious effort, at a single leap;
and then, continuing his way up the slope, amid the low guttural
acclamations of the warriors at his extraordinary dexterity and
strength, finally gained the side of Ponteac, then leaning carelessly
against a tree at a short distance from the prisoner.

A low and animated conversation now ensued between these two important
personages, which at moments assumed the character of violent
discussion. From what Captain de Haldimar could collect, the Ottawa
chief was severely reproving his friend for the inconsiderate ardour
which had led him that morning into collision with those whom it was
their object to lull into security by a careful avoidance of hostility,
and urging the possibility of their plan being defeated in consequence.
He moreover obstinately refused the pressing request of Wacousta, in
regard to some present enterprise which the latter had just suggested,
the precise nature of which, however, Captain de Haldimar could not
learn. Meanwhile, the rapid flitting of numerous forms to and from the
encampment, arrayed in all the fierce panoply of savage warfare, while
low exclamations of excitement occasionally caught his ear, led the
officer to infer, strange and unusual as such an occurrence was, that
either the detachment already engaged, or a second, was advancing on
their position. Still, this offered little chance of security for
himself; for more than once, during his long conference with Ponteac,
had the fierce Wacousta bent his eye in ferocious triumph on his
victim, as if he would have said,--"Come what will--whatever be the
result--you, at least, shall not escape me." Indeed, so confident did
the latter feel that the instant of attack would be the signal of his
own death, that, after the first momentary and instinctive cheering of
his spirit, he rather regretted the circumstance of their approach; or,
if he rejoiced at all, it was only because it afforded him the prospect
of immediate death, instead of being exposed to all the horror of a
lingering and agonising suffering from the torture.

While the chiefs were yet earnestly conversing, the alarm cry,
previously uttered by Wacousta, was repeated, although in a low and
subdued tone, by several of the Indians who stood on the brow of the
eminence. Ponteac started suddenly to the same point; but Wacousta
continued for a moment or two rooted to the spot on which he stood,
with the air of one in doubt as to what course he should pursue. He
then abruptly raised his head, fixed his dark and menacing eye on his
captive, and was already in the act of approaching him, when the
earnest and repeated demands for his presence, by the Ottawa chief,
drew him once more to the outskirt of the wood.

Again Captain de Haldimar breathed freely. The presence of that fierce
man had been a clog upon the vital functions of his heart; and, to be
relieved from it, even at a moment like the present, when far more
important interests might be supposed to occupy his mind, was a
gratification, of which not even the consciousness of impending death
could wholly deprive him. From the continued pressing of the Indians
towards one particular point in the clearing, he now conjectured, that,
from that point, the advance of the troops was visible. Anxious to
obtain even a momentary view of those whom he deemed himself fated
never more to mingle with in this life, he raised himself upon his
feet, and stretched his neck and bent his eager glance in the direction
by which Wacousta had approached; but, so closely were the dark
warriors grouped among the trees, he found it impossible. Once or
twice, however, he thought he could distinguish the gleaming of the
English bayonets in the bright sunshine, as they seemed to file off in
a parallel line with the ravine. Oh, how his generous heart throbbed at
that moment; and how ardently did he wish that he could have stood in
the position of the meanest soldier in those gallant ranks! Perhaps his
own brave and devoted grenadiers were of the number, burning with
enthusiasm to be led against the captors or destroyers of their
officer; and this thought added to his wretchedness still more.

While the unfortunate prisoner, thus strongly excited, bent his whole
soul on the scene before him, he fancied he heard the approach of a
cautious footstep. He turned his head as well as his confined position
would admit, and beheld, close behind him, a dark Indian, whose eyes
alone were visible above the blanket in which his person was completely
enveloped. His right arm was uplifted, and the blade of a scalping
knife glittered in his hand. A cold shudder ran through the veins of
the young officer, and he closed his eyes, that he might not see the
blow which he felt was about to be directed at his heart. The Indian
glanced hurriedly yet cautiously around, to see if he was observed; and
then, with the rapidity of thought, divided, first the thongs that
secured the legs, and then those which confined the arms of the
defenceless captive. When Captain de Haldimar, full of astonishment at
finding himself once more at liberty, again unclosed his eyes, they
fell on the not unhandsome features of the young chief, the brother of

"The Saganaw is the prisoner of Wacousta," said the Indian hastily;
"and Wacousta is the enemy of the young Ottawa chief. The warriors of
the pale faces are there" (and he pointed directly before him). "If the
Saganaw has a bold heart and a swift foot, he may save his life:" and,
with this intimation, he hurried away in the same cautious manner, and
was in the next instant seen making a circuit to arrive at the point at
which the principal strength of the Indians was collected.

The position of Captain de Haldimar had now attained its acme of
interest; for on his own exertions alone depended every thing that
remained to be accomplished. With wonderful presence of mind he
surveyed all the difficulties of his course, while he availed himself
at the same moment of whatever advantages were within his grasp. On the
approach of Wacousta, the young Indians, to whose custody he had been
committed, had returned to their post; but no sooner had that warrior,
obeying the call of Ponteac, again departed, than they once more flew
to the extreme skirt of the forest, after first satisfying themselves
the ligatures which confined their prisoner were secure. Either with a
view of avoiding unnecessary encumbrance in their course, or through
hurry and inadvertence, they had left their blankets near the foot of
the tree. The first thought of the officer was to seize one of these;
for, in order to gain the point whence his final effort to join the
detachment must be made, it was necessary he should pass through the
body of scattered Indians who stood immediately in his way; and the
disguise of the blanket could alone afford him a reasonable chance of
moving unnoticed among them. Secretly congratulating himself on the
insulting mockery that had inducted his upper form in the disguising
warpaint of his enemies, he now drew the protecting blanket close up to
his eyes; and then, with every nerve braced up, every faculty of mind
and body called into action, commenced his dangerous enterprise.

He had not, however, taken more than two or three steps in advance,
when, to his great discomfiture and alarm, he beheld the formidable
Wacousta approaching from a distance, evidently in search of his
prisoner. With the quickness of thought he determined on his course. To
appear to avoid him would be to excite the suspicion of the fierce
warrior; and, desperate as the alternative was, he resolved to move
undeviatingly forward. At each step that drew him nearer to his enemy,
the beating of his heart became more violent; and had it not been for
the thick coat of paint in which he was invested, the involuntary
contraction of the muscles of his face must inevitably have betrayed
him. Nay, even as it was, had the keen eye of the warrior fallen on
him, such was the agitation of the officer, he felt he must have been
discovered. Happily, however, Wacousta, who evidently took him for some
inferior warrior hastening to the point where his fellows were already
assembled, passed without deigning to look at him, and so close, their
forms almost touched. Captain de Haldimar now quickened his pace. It
was evident there was no time to be lost; for Wacousta, on finding him
gone, would at once give the alarm, when a hundred warriors would be
ready on the instant to intercept his flight. Taking the precaution to
disguise his walk by turning in his toes after the Indian manner, he
reached, with a beating heart, the first of the numerous warriors who
were collected within the belt of forest, anxiously watching the
movements of the detachment in the plain below. To his infinite joy he
found that each was too much intent on what was passing in the
distance, to heed any thing going on near themselves; and when he at
length gained the extreme opening, and stood in a line with those who
were the farthest advanced, without having excited a single suspicion
in his course, he could scarcely believe the evidence of his senses.

Still the most difficult part of the enterprise remained to be
completed. Hitherto he had moved under the friendly cover of the
underwood, the advantage of which had been to conceal that part of his
regimental trousers which the blanket left exposed; and if he moved
forward into the clearing, the quick glance of an Indian would not be
slow in detecting the difference between these and his own ruder
leggings. There was no alternative now but to commence his flight from
the spot on which he stood; and for this he prepared himself. At one
rapid and comprehensive view he embraced the immediate localities
before him. On the other side of the ravine he could now distinctly see
the English troops, either planning, as he conceived, their own attack,
or waiting in the hope of drawing the Indians from their cover. It was
evident that to reach them the ravine must be crossed, unless the more
circuitous route by the bridge, which was hid from his view by an
intervening hillock, should be preferred; but as the former had been
cleared by Wacousta in his ascent, and was the nearest point by which
the detachment could be approached, to this did he now direct his
undivided attention.

While he yet paused with indecision, at one moment fancying the time
for starting was not yet arrived, and at the next that he had suffered
it to pass away, the powerful and threatening voice of Wacousta was
heard proclaiming the escape of his captive. Low but expressive
exclamations from the warriors marked their sense of the importance of
the intelligence; and many of them hastily dispersed themselves in
pursuit. This was the critical moment for action: for, as the anxious
officer had rather wished than expected, those Indians who had been
immediately in front, and whose proximity he most dreaded, were among
the number of those who dashed into the heart of the forest--Captain de
Haldimar now stood alone, and full twenty paces in front of the nearest
of the savages. For a moment he played with his mocassined foot to
satisfy himself, of the power and flexibility of its muscles, and then
committing himself to his God, dashed the blanket suddenly from his
shoulders, and, with eye and heart fixed on the distant soldiery,
darted down the declivity with a speed of which he had never yet
believed himself capable. Scarcely, however, had his fleeing form
appeared in the opening, when a tremendous and deafening yell rent the
air, and a dozen wild and naked warriors followed instantly in pursuit.
Attracted by that yell, the terrible Wacousta, who had been seeking his
victim in a different quarter, bounded forward to the front with an eye
flashing fire, and a brow compressed into the fiercest hate; and so
stupendous were his efforts, so extraordinary was his speed, that had
it not been for the young Ottawa chief, who was one of the pursuing
party, and who, under the pretence of assisting in the recapture of the
prisoner, sought every opportunity of throwing himself before, and
embarrassing the movements of his enemy, it is highly probable the
latter would have succeeded. Despite of these obstacles, however, the
fierce Wacousta, who had been the last to follow, soon left the
foremost of his companions far behind him; and but for his sudden fall,
while in the very act of seizing the arm of his prisoner, his gigantic
efforts must have been crowned with the fullest success. But the reader
has already seen how miraculously Captain de Haldimar, reduced to the
last stage of debility, as much from inanition as from the unnatural
efforts of his flight, finally accomplished his return to the


At the western extremity of the lake Huron, and almost washed by the
waters of that pigmy ocean, stands the fort of Michilimackinac.
Constructed on a smaller scale, and garrisoned by a less numerical
force, the defences of this post, although less formidable than those
of the Detroit, were nearly similar, at the period embraced by our
story, both in matter and in manner. Unlike the latter fortress,
however, it boasted none of the advantages afforded by culture;
neither, indeed, was there a single spot in the immediate vicinity that
was not clad in the eternal forest of these regions. It is true, that
art and laborious exertion had so far supplied the deficiencies of
nature as to isolate the fort, and throw it under the protecting sweep
of its cannon; but, while this afforded security, it failed to produce
any thing like a pleasing effect to the eye. The very site on which the
fortress now stood had at one period been a portion of the wilderness
that every where around was only terminated by the sands on the lake
shore: and, although time and the axe of the pioneer had in some degree
changed its features, still there was no trace of that blended natural
scenery that so pleasingly diversified the vicinity of the sister fort.
Here and there, along the imperfect clearing, and amid the dark and
thickly studded stumps of the felled trees, which in themselves were
sufficient to give the most lugubrious character to the scene, rose the
rude log cabin of the settler; but, beyond this, cultivation appeared
to have lost her power in proportion with the difficulties she had to
encounter. Even the two Indian villages, L'Arbre-Croche and Chabouiga,
situate about a mile from the fort, with which they formed nearly an
equilateral triangle, were hid from the view of the garrison by the
dark dense forest, in the heart of which they were embedded.

Lake ward the view was scarcely less monotonous; but it was not, as in
the rear, that monotony which is never occasionally broken in upon by
some occurrence of interest. If the eye gazed long and anxiously for
the white sail of the well known armed vessel, charged at stated
intervals with letters and tidings of those whom time, and distance,
and danger, far from estranging, rendered more dear to the memory, and
bound more closely to the heart, it was sure of being rewarded at last;
and then there was no picture on which it could love to linger so well
as that of the silver waves bearing that valued vessel in safety to its
wonted anchorage in the offing. Moreover, the light swift bark canoes
of the natives often danced joyously on its surface; and while the
sight was offended at the savage, skulking among the trees of the
forest, like some dark spirit moving cautiously in its course of secret
destruction, and watching the moment when he might pounce unnoticed on
his unprepared victim, it followed, with momentary pleasure and
excitement, the activity and skill displayed by the harmless paddler,
in the swift and meteor-like race that set the troubled surface of the
Huron in a sheet of hissing foam. Nor was this all. When the eye turned
wood-ward, it fell heavily, and without interest, upon a dim and dusky
point, known to enter upon savage scenes and unexplored countries;
whereas, whenever it reposed upon the lake, it was with an eagerness
and energy that embraced the most vivid recollections of the past, and
led the imagination buoyantly over every well-remembered scene that had
previously been traversed, and which must be traversed again before the
land of the European could be pressed once more. The forest, in a word,
formed, as it were, the gloomy and impenetrable walls of the
prison-house, and the bright lake that lay before it the only portal
through which happiness and liberty could be again secured.

The principal entrance into the fort, which presented four equal sides
of a square, was from the forest; but, immediately opposite to this,
and behind the apartments of the commanding officer, there was another
small gate that opened upon the lake shore; but which, since the
investment of the place, had been kept bolted and locked, with a
precaution befitting the danger to which the garrison was exposed.
Still, there were periods, even now, when its sullen hinges were to be
heard moaning on the midnight breeze; for it served as a medium of
communication between the besieged and others who were no less
critically circumstanced than themselves.

The very day before the Indians commenced their simultaneous attack on
the several posts of the English, the only armed vessel that had been
constructed on these upper lakes, serving chiefly as a medium of
communication between Detroit and Michilimackinac, had arrived with
despatches and letters from the former fort. A well-concerted plan of
the savages to seize her in her passage through the narrow waters of
the river Sinclair had only been defeated by the vigilance of her
commander; but, ever since the breaking out of the war, she had been
imprisoned within the limits of the Huron. Laborious indeed was the
duty of the devoted crew. Several attempts had been renewed by the
Indians to surprise them; but, although their little fleets stole
cautiously and noiselessly, at the still hour of midnight, to the spot
where, at the last expiring rays of twilight, they had beheld her
carelessly anchored, and apparently lulled into security, the subject
of their search was never to be met with. No sooner were objects on the
shore rendered indistinct to the eye, than the anchor was silently
weighed, and, gliding wherever the breeze might choose to carry her,
the light bark was made to traverse the lake, with every sail set,
until dawn. None, however, were suffered to slumber in the presumed
security afforded by this judicious flight. Every man was at his post;
and, while a silence so profound was preserved, that the noise of a
falling pin might have been heard upon her decks, every thing was in
readiness to repel an attack of their enemies, should the vessel, in
her course, come accidentally in collision with their pigmy fleets.
When morning broke, and no sign of their treacherous foes was visible,
the vessel was again anchored, and the majority of the crew suffered to
retire to their hammocks, while the few whose turn of duty it chanced
to be, kept a vigilant look-out, that, on the slightest appearance of
alarm, their slumbering comrades might again be aroused to energy and

Severe and harassing as had been the duty on board this vessel for many
months,--at one moment exposed to the assaults of the savages, at
another assailed by the hurricanes that are so prevalent and so
dangerous on the American lakes,--the situation of the crew was even
less enviable than that of the garrison itself. What chiefly
contributed to their disquietude, was the dreadful consciousness that,
however their present efforts might secure a temporary safety, the
period of their fall was only protracted. A few months more must bring
with them all the severity of the winter of those climes, and then,
blocked up in a sea of ice,--exposed to all the rigour of cold,--all
the miseries of hunger,--what effectual resistance could they oppose to
the numerous bands of Indians who, availing themselves of the
defenceless position of their enemies, would rush from every quarter to
their destruction.

At the outset of these disheartening circumstances the officer had
summoned his faithful crew together, and pointing out the danger and
uncertainty of their position, stated that two chances of escape still
remained to them. The first was, by an attempt to accomplish the
passage of the river Sinclair during some dark and boisterous night,
when the Indians would be least likely to suspect such an intention: it
was at this point that the efforts of their enemies were principally to
be apprehended; but if, under cover of storm and darkness, they could
accomplish this difficult passage, they would easily gain the Detroit,
and thence pass into lake Erie, at the further extremity of which they
might, favoured by Providence, effect a landing, and penetrate to the
inhabited parts of the colony of New York. The other alternative
was,--and he left it to themselves to determine,--to sink the vessel on
the approach of winter, and throw themselves into the fort before them,
there to await and share the destiny of its gallant defenders.

With the generous enthusiasm of their profession, the noble fellows had
determined on the latter course. With their officer they fully
coincided in opinion, that their ultimate hopes of life depended on the
safe passage of the Sinclair; for it was but too obvious, that soon or
late, unless some very extraordinary revolution should be effected in
the intentions of the Indians, the fortress must be starved into
submission. Still, as it was tolerably well supplied with provisions,
this gloomy prospect was remote, and they were willing to run all
chances with their friends on shore, rather than desert them in their
extremity. The determination expressed by them, therefore, was, that
when they could no longer keep the lake in safety, they would, if the
officer permitted it, scuttle the vessel, and attempt an entrance into
the fort, where they would share the fate of the troops, whatever it
might chance to be.

No sooner was this resolution made known, than their young commander
sought an opportunity of communicating with the garrison, This,
however, was no very easy task; for, so closely was the fort hemmed in
by the savages, it was impossible to introduce a messenger within its
walls; and so sudden had been the cutting off of all communication
between the vessel and the shore, that the thought had not even
occurred to either commander to establish the most ordinary
intelligence by signal. In this dilemma recourse was had to an
ingenious expedient. The dispatches of the officer were enclosed in one
of the long tin tubes in which were generally deposited the maps and
charts of the schooner, and to this, after having been carefully
soldered, was attached an inch rope of several hundred fathoms in
length: the case was then put into one of the ship's guns, so placed as
to give it the elevation of a mortar; thus prepared, advantage was
taken of a temporary absence of the Indians to bring the vessel within
half a mile of the shore, and when the attention of the garrison,
naturally attracted by this unusual movement, was sufficiently
awakened, that opportunity was chosen for the discharge of the gun; and
as the quantity of powder had been proportionably reduced for the
limited range, the tube was soon safely deposited within the rampart.
The same means were adopted in replying; and one end of the rope
remaining attached to the schooner, all that was necessary was to
solder up the tube as before, and throw it over the ramparts upon the
sands, whence it was immediately pulled over her side by the watchful

As the dispatch conveyed to the garrison, among other subjects of
interest, bore the unwelcome intelligence that the supplies of the crew
were nearly expended, an arrangement was proposed by which, at stated
intervals, a more immediate communication with the former might be
effected. Whenever, therefore, the wind permitted, the vessel was kept
hovering in sight during the day, beneath the eyes of the savages, and
on the approach of evening an unshotted gun was discharged, with a view
of drawing their attention more immediately to her movements; every
sail was then set, and under a cloud of canvass the course of the
schooner was directed towards the source of the Sinclair, as if an
attempt to accomplish that passage was to be made during the night. No
sooner, however, had the darkness fairly set in, than the vessel was
put about, and, beating against the wind, generally contrived to reach
the offing at a stated hour, when a boat, provided with muffled oars,
was sent off to the shore. This ruse had several times deceived the
Indians, and it was on these occasions that the small gate to which we
have alluded was opened, for the purpose of conveying the necessary

The buildings of the fort consisted chiefly of block-houses, the
internal accommodations of which were fully in keeping with their rude
exterior, being but indifferently provided with the most ordinary
articles of comfort, and fitted up as the limited resources of that
wild and remote district could supply. The best and most agreeably
situated of these, if a choice could be made, was that of the
commanding officer. This building rose considerably above the others,
and overhanging that part of the rampart which skirted the shores of
the Huron, commanded a full view of the lake, even to its extremity of
frowning and belting forest.

To this block-house there were two staircases; the principal leading to
the front entrance from the barrack-square, the other opening in the
rear, close under the rampart, and communicating by a few rude steps
with the small gate that led upon the sands. In the lower part of this
building, appropriated by the commanding officer to that exclusive
purpose, the official duties of his situation were usually performed;
and on the ground-floor a large room, that extended from front to rear
of the block-house on one side of the passage, had formerly been used
as a hall of council with the Indian chiefs. The floor above this
comprised both his own private apartments and those set apart for the
general use of the family; but, above all, and preferable from their
cheerful view over the lake, were others, which had been reserved for
the exclusive accommodation of Miss de Haldimar. This upper floor
consisted of two sleeping apartments, with a sitting-room, the latter
extending the whole length of the block-house and opening immediately
upon the lake, from the only two windows with which that side of the
building was provided. The principal staircase led into one of the
bed-rooms, and both of the latter communicated immediately with the
sitting-room, which again, in its turn, opened, at the opposite
extremity, on the narrow staircase that led to the rear of the

The furniture of this apartment, which might be taken as a fair sample
of the best the country could afford, was wild, yet simple, in the
extreme. Neat rush mats, of an oblong square, and fantastically put
together, so as to exhibit in the weaving of the several coloured reeds
both figures that were known to exist in the creation, and those which
could have no being save in the imagination of their framers, served as
excellent substitutes for carpets, while rush bottomed chairs, the
product of Indian ingenuity also, occupied those intervals around the
room that were unsupplied by the matting. Upon the walls were hung
numerous specimens both of the dress and of the equipments of the
savages, and mingled with these were many natural curiosities, the
gifts of Indian chiefs to the commandant at various periods before the

Nothing could be more unlike the embellishments of a modern European
boudoir than those of this apartment, which had, in some degree, been
made the sanctum of its present occupants. Here was to be seen the
scaly carcass of some huge serpent, extending its now harmless length
from the ceiling to the floor--there an alligator, stuffed after the
same fashion; and in various directions the skins of the beaver, the
marten, the otter, and an infinitude of others of that genus, filled up
spaces that were left unsupplied by the more ingenious specimens of
Indian art. Head-dresses tastefully wrought in the shape of the
crowning bays of the ancients, and composed of the gorgeous feathers of
the most splendid of the forest birds--bows and quivers handsomely, and
even elegantly ornamented with that most tasteful of Indian
decorations, the stained quill of the porcupine; war clubs of massive
iron wood, their handles covered with stained horsehair and feathers
curiously mingled together--machecotis, hunting coats, mocassins, and
leggings, all worked in porcupine quill, and fancifully
arranged,--these, with many others, had been called into requisition to
bedeck and relieve the otherwise rude and naked walls of the apartment.

Nor did the walls alone reflect back the picture of savage ingenuity,
for on the various tables, the rude polish of which was hid from view
by the simple covering of green baize, which moreover constituted the
garniture of the windows, were to be seen other products of their art.
Here stood upon an elevated stand a model of a bark canoe, filled with
its complement of paddlers carved in wood and dressed in full costume;
the latter executed with such singular fidelity of feature, that
although the speaking figures sprung not from the experienced and
classic chisel of the sculptor but from the rude scalping knife of the
savage, the very tribe to which they belonged could be discovered at a
glance by the European who was conversant with the features of each:
then there were handsomely ornamented vessels made of the birch bark,
and filled with the delicate sugars which the natives extract from the
maple tree in early spring; these of all sizes, even to the most tiny
that could well be imagined, were valuable rather as exquisite
specimens of the neatness with which those slight vessels could be put
together, sewn as they were merely with strips of the same bark, than
from any intrinsic value they possessed. Covered over with fantastic
figures, done either in paint, or in quill work artfully interwoven
into the fibres of the bark, they presented, in their smooth and
polished surface, strong evidence of the address of the savages in
their preparation of this most useful and abundant produce of the
country. Interspersed with these, too, were numerous stands filled with
stuffed birds, some of which combined in themselves every variety and
shade of dazzling plumage; and numerous rude cases contained the rarest
specimens of the American butterfly, most of which were of sizes and
tints that are no where equalled in Europe. One solitary table alone
was appropriated to whatever wore a transatlantic character in this
wild and museum-like apartment. On this lay a Spanish guitar, a few
pieces of old music, a collection of English and French books, a couple
of writing-desks, and, scattered over the whole, several articles of
unfinished needle-work.

Such was the apartment in which Madeline and Clara de Haldimar were met
at the moment we have selected for their introduction to our readers.
It was the morning of that day on which the second council of the
chiefs, the result of which has already been seen, was held at Detroit.
The sun had risen bright and gorgeously above the adjacent forest,
throwing his golden beams upon the calm glassy waters of the lake; and
now, approaching rapidly towards the meridian, gradually diminished the
tall bold shadows of the block-houses upon the shore. At the distance
of about a mile lay the armed vessel so often alluded to; her light low
hull dimly seen in the hazy atmosphere that danced upon the waters, and
her attenuated masts and sloping yards, with their slight tracery of
cordage, recalling rather the complex and delicate ramifications of the
spider's web, than the elastic yet solid machinery to which the lives
of those within had so often been committed in sea and tempest. Upon
the strand, and close opposite to the small gate which now stood ajar,
lay one of her boats, the crew of which had abandoned her with the
exception only of a single individual, apparently her cockswain, who,
with the tiller under his arm, lay half extended in the stern-sheets,
his naked chest exposed, and his tarpaulin hat shielding his eyes from
the sun while he indulged in profound repose. These were the only
objects that told of human life. Everywhere beyond the eye rested on
the faint outline of forest, that appeared like the softened tracing of
a pencil at the distant junction of the waters with the horizon.

The windows that commanded this prospect were now open; and through
that which was nearest to the gate, half reclined the elegant, slight,
and somewhat petite form of a female, who, with one small and
delicately formed hand supporting her cheek, while the other played
almost unconsciously with an open letter, glanced her eye alternately,
and with an expression of joyousness, towards the vessel that lay
beyond, and the point in which the source of the Sinclair was known to
lie. It was Clara de Haldimar.

Presently the vacant space at the same window was filled by another
form, but of less girlish appearance--one that embraced all the full
rich contour of the Medicean Venus, and a lazy languor in its movements
that harmonised with the speaking outlines of the form, and without
which the beauty of the whole would have been at variance and
imperfect. Neither did the face belie the general expression of the
figure. The eyes, of a light hazel, were large, full, and somewhat
prominent--the forehead broad, high, and redolent with an expression of
character--and the cheek rich in that peculiar colour which can be
likened only to the downy hues of the peach, and is, in itself, a
physical earnest of the existence of deep, but not boisterous--of
devoted, but not obtrusive affections; an impression that was not, in
the present instance, weakened by the full and pouting lip, and the
rather heavy formation of the lower face. The general expression,
moreover, of a countenance which, closely analysed, could not be termed
beautiful, marked a mind at once ardent in its conceptions, and steady
and resolute in its silent accomplishments of purpose. She was of the
middle height.

Such was the person of Madeline de Haldimar; but attractive, or rather
winning, as were her womanly attributes, her principal power lay in her
voice,--the beauty, nay, the voluptuousness of which nothing could
surpass. It was impossible to listen to the slow, full, rich, deep, and
melodious tones that fell trembling from her lips upon the ear, and not
feel, aye shudder, under all their fascination on the soul. In such a
voice might the Madonna of Raphael have been supposed to offer up her
supplications from the gloomy precincts of the cloister. No wonder that
Frederick de Haldimar loved her, and loved her with all the intense
devotedness of his own glowing heart. His cousin was to him a divinity
whom he worshipped in the innermost recesses of his being; and his, in
return, was the only ear in which the accents of that almost superhuman
voice had breathed the thrilling confession of an attachment, which its
very tones announced could be deep and imperishable as the soul in
which it had taken root. Often in the hours that preceded the period
when they were to have been united heart and mind and thought in one
common destiny, would he start from her side, his brain whirling with
very intoxication, and then obeying another wild impulse, rush once
more into her embrace; and clasping his beloved Madeline to his heart,
entreat her again to pour forth all the melody of that confession in
his enraptured ear. Artless and unaffected as she was generous and
impassioned, the fond and noble girl never hesitated to gratify him
whom alone she loved; and deep and fervent was the joy of the soldier,
when he found that each passionate entreaty, far from being met with
caprice, only drew from the lips of his cousin warmer and more
affectionate expressions of her attachment. Such expressions, coming
from any woman, must have been rapturous and soothing in the extreme;
but, when they flowed from a voice whose very sound was melody, they
acted on the heart of Captain de Haldimar with a potency that was as
irresistible as the love itself which she inspired.

Such was the position of things just before the commencement of the
Indian war. Madeline de Haldimar had been for some time on a visit to
Detroit, and her marriage with her cousin was to have taken place
within a few days. The unexpected arrival of intelligence from
Michilimackinac that her father was dangerously ill, however, retarded
the ceremony; and, up to the present period, their intercourse had been
completely suspended. If Madeline de Haldimar was capable of strong
attachment to her lover, the powerful ties of nature were no less
deeply rooted in her heart, and commiseration and anxiety for her
father now engrossed every faculty of her mind. She entreated her
cousin to defer the solemnisation of their nuptials until her parent
should be pronounced out of danger, and, having obtained his consent to
the delay, instantly set off for Michilimackinac, accompanied by her
cousin Clara, whom, she had prevailed on the governor to part with
until her own return. Hostilities were commenced very shortly
afterwards, and, although Major de Haldimar speedily recovered from his
illness, the fair cousins were compelled to share the common
imprisonment of the garrison.

When Miss de Haldimar joined her more youthful cousin at the window,
through which the latter was gazing thoughtfully on the scene before
her, she flung her arm around her waist with the protecting manner of a
mother. The mild blue eyes of Clara met those that were fastened in
tenderness upon her, and a corresponding movement on her part brought
the more matronly form of her cousin into close and affectionate
contact with her own.

"Oh, Madeline, what a day is this!" she exclaimed; "and how often on my
bended knees have I prayed to Heaven that it might arrive! Our trials
are ended at last, and happiness and joy are once more before us. There
is the boat that is to conduct us to the vessel, which, in its turn, is
to bear me to the arms of my dear father, and you to those of the lover
who adores you. How beautiful does that fabric appear to me now! Never
did I feel half the pleasure in surveying it I do at this moment."

"Dear, dear girl!" exclaimed Miss de Haldimar,--and she pressed her
closer and in silence to her heart: then, after a slight pause, during
which the mantling glow upon her brow told how deeply she desired the
reunion alluded to by her cousin--"that, indeed, will be an hour of
happiness to us both, Clara; for irrevocably as our affections have
been pledged, it would be silly in the extreme to deny that I long most
ardently to be restored to him who is already my husband. But, tell
me," she concluded, with an archness of expression that caused the
long-lashed eyes of her companion to sink beneath her own, "are you
quite sincere in your own case? I know how deeply you love your father
and your brothers, but do these alone occupy your attention? Is there
not a certain friend of Charles whom you have some little curiosity to
see also?"

"How silly, Madeline!" and the cheek of the young girl became suffused
with a deeper glow; "you know I have never seen this friend of my
brother, how then can I possibly feel more than the most ordinary
interest in him? I am disposed to like him, certainly, for the mere
reason that Charles does; but this is all."

"Well, Clara, I will not pretend to decide; but certain it is, this is
the last letter you received from Charles, and that it contains the
strongest recommendations of his friend to your notice. Equally certain
is it, that scarcely a day has passed, since we have been shut up here,
that you have not perused and re-perused it half a dozen times. Now, as
I am confessedly one who should know something of these matters, I must
be suffered to pronounce these are strong symptoms, to say the very
least. Ah! Clara, that blush declares you guilty.--But, who have we
here? Middleton and Baynton."

The eyes of the cousins now fell upon the ramparts immediately under
the window. Two officers, one apparently on duty for the day, were
passing at the moment; and, as they heard their names pronounced,
stopped, looked up, and saluted the young ladies with that easy freedom
of manner, which, unmixed with either disrespect or effrontery, so
usually characterises the address of military men.

"What a contrast, by heaven!" exclaimed he who wore the badge of duty
suspended over his chest, throwing himself playfully into a theatrical
attitude, expressive at once of admiration and surprise, while his eye
glanced intelligently over the fair but dissimilar forms of the
cousins. "Venus and Psyche in the land of the Pottowatamies by all that
is magnificent! Come, Middleton, quick, out with that eternal pencil of
yours, and perform your promise."

"And what may that promise be?" asked Clara, laughingly, and without
adverting to the hyperbolical compliment of the dark-eyed officer who
had just spoken.

"You shall hear," pursued the lively captain of the guard. "While
making the tour of the ramparts just now, to visit my sentries, I saw
Middleton leaning most sentimentally against one of the boxes in front,
his notebook in one hand and his pencil in the other. Curious to
discover the subject of his abstraction, I stole cautiously behind him,
and saw that he was sketching the head of a tall and rather handsome
squaw, who, in the midst of a hundred others, was standing close to the
gateway watching the preparations of the Indian ball-players. I at once
taxed him with having lost his heart; and rallying him on his bad taste
in devoting his pencil to any thing that had a red skin, never combed
its hair, and turned its toes in while walking, pronounced his sketch
to be an absolute fright. Well, will you believe what I have to add?
The man absolutely flew into a tremendous passion with me, and swore
that she was a Venus, a Juno, a Minerva, a beauty of the first water in
short; and finished by promising, that when I could point out any woman
who was superior to her in personal attraction, he would on the instant
write no less than a dozen consecutive sonnets in her praise. I now
call upon him to fulfil his promise, or maintain the superiority of his
Indian beauty."

Before the laughing Middleton could find time to reply to the light and
unmeaning rattle of his friend, the quick low roll of a drum was heard
from the front. The signal was understood by both officers, and they
prepared to depart.

"This is the hour appointed for the council," said Captain Baynton,
looking at his watch, "and I must be with my guard, to receive the
chiefs with becoming honour. How I pity you, Middleton, who will have
the infliction of one of their great big talks, as Murphy would call
it, dinned into your ear for the next two hours at least! Thank heaven,
my tour of duty exempts me from that; and by way of killing an hour, I
think I shall go and carry on a flirtation with your Indian Minerva,
alias Venus, alias Juno, while you are discussing the affairs of the
nation with closed doors. But hark! there is the assembly drum again.
We must be off. Come, Middleton, come.--Adieu!" waving his hand to the
cousins, "we shall meet at dinner."

"What an incessant talker Baynton is!" observed Miss de Haldimar, as
the young men now disappeared round an angle of the rampart; "but he
has reminded me of what I had nearly forgotten, and that is to give
orders for dinner. My father has invited all the officers to dine with
him to day, in commemoration of the peace which is being concluded. It
will be the first time we shall have all met together since the
commencement of this cruel war, and we must endeavour, Clara, to do
honour to the feast."

"I hope," timidly observed her cousin, shuddering as she spoke, "that
none of those horrid chiefs will be present, Madeline; for, without any
affectation of fear whatever, I feel that I could not so far overcome
my disgust as to sit at the same table with them. There was a time, it
is true, when I thought nothing of these things; but, since the war, I
have witnessed and heard so much of their horrid deeds, that I shall
never be able to endure the sight of an Indian face again. Ah!" she
concluded, turning her eyes upon the lake, while she clung more closely
to the embrace of her companion; "would to Heaven, Madeline, that we
were both at this moment gliding in yonder vessel, and in sight of my
father's fort!"


The eyes of Miss de Haldimar followed those of her cousin, and rested
on the dark hull of the schooner, with which so many recollections of
the past and anticipations of the future were associated in their
minds. When they had last looked upon it, all appearance of human life
had vanished from its decks; but now there was strong evidence of
unusual bustle and activity. Numerous persons could be seen moving
hastily to and fro, their heads just peering above the bulwarks; and
presently they beheld a small boat move from the ship's side, and shoot
rapidly ahead, in a direct line with the well-known bearings of the
Sinclair's source. While they continued to gaze on this point,
following the course of the light vessel, and forming a variety of
conjectures as to the cause of a movement, especially remarkable from
the circumstance of the commander being at that moment in the fort,
whither he had been summoned to attend the council, another and
scarcely perceptible object was dimly seen, at the distance of about
half a mile in front of the boat. With the aid of a telescope, which
had formed one of the principal resources of the cousins during their
long imprisonment, Miss de Haldimar now perceived a dark and shapeless
mass moving somewhat heavily along the lake, and in a line with the
schooner and the boat. This was evidently approaching; for each moment
it loomed larger upon the hazy water, increasing in bulk in the same
proportion that the departing skiff became less distinct: still, it was
impossible to discover, at that distance, in what manner it was
propelled. Wind there was none, not as much as would have changed the
course of a feather dropping through space; and, except where the
dividing oars of the boatmen had agitated the waters, the whole surface
of the lake was like a sea of pale and liquid gold.

At length the two dark bodies met, and the men in the boat were seen to
lie upon their oars, while one in the stem seemed to be in the act of
attaching a rope to the formless matter. For a few moments there was a
cessation of all movement; and then again the active and sturdy rowing
of the boatmen was renewed, and with an exertion of strength even more
vigorous than that they had previously exhibited. Their course was now
directed towards the vessel; and, as it gradually neared that fabric,
the rope by which the strange-looking object was secured, could be
distinctly though faintly seen with the telescope. It was impossible to
say whether the latter, whatever it might be, was urged by some
invisible means, or merely floated in the wake of the boat; for,
although the waters through which it passed ran rippling and foaming
from their course, this effect might have been produced by the boat
which preceded it. As it now approached the vessel, it presented the
appearance of a dense wood of evergreens, the overhanging branches of
which descended close to the water's edge, and baffled every attempt of
the cousins to discover its true character. The boat had now arrived
within a hundred yards of the schooner, when a man was seen to rise
from its bows, and, putting both his hands to his mouth, after the
manner of sailors in hailing, to continue in that position for some
moments, apparently conversing with those who were grouped along the
nearest gangway. Then were observed rapid movements on the decks; and
men were seen hastening aloft, and standing out upon the foremast
yards. This, however, had offered no interruption to the exertions of
the boatmen, who still kept plying with a vigour that set even the
sail-less vessel in motion, as the foaming water, thrown from their
bending oar-blades, dashed angrily against her prow. Soon afterwards
both the boat and her prize disappeared on the opposite side of the
schooner, which, now lying with her broadside immediately on a line
with the shore, completely hid them from the further view of the

"Look!--Look!" said Clara, clinging sensitively and with alarm to the
almost maternal bosom against which she reposed, while she pointed with
her finger to another dark mass that was moving through the lake in a
circular sweep from the point of wood terminating the clearing on the
right of the fort.

Miss de Haldimar threw the glass on the object to which her attention
was now directed. It was evidently some furred animal, and presented
all the appearance either of a large water-rat or a beaver, the latter
of which it was pronounced to be as a nearer approach rendered its
shape more distinct. Ever and anon, too, it disappeared altogether
under the water; and, when it again came in sight, it was always
several yards nearer. Its course, at first circuitous, at length took a
direct line with the stern of the boat, where the sailor who was in
charge still lay extended at his drowsy length, his tarpaulin hat
shading his eyes, and his arms folded over his uncovered and heaving
chest, while he continued to sleep as profoundly as if he had been
comfortably berthed in his hammock in the middle of the Atlantic.

"What a large bold animal it is," remarked Clara, in die tone of one
who wishes to be confirmed in an impression but indifferently
entertained. "See how close it approaches the boat! Mad that lazy
sailor but his wits about him, he might easily knock it on the head
with his oar. It is--it is a beaver, Madeline; I can distinguish its
head even with the naked eye."

"Heaven grant it may be a beaver," answered Miss de Haldimar, in a
voice so deep and full of meaning, that it made her cousin startle and
turn paler even than before. "Nay, Clara, dearest, command yourself,
nor give way to what may, after all, prove a groundless cause of alarm.
Yet, I know not how it is, my heart misgives me sadly; for I like not
the motions of this animal, which are strangely and unusually bold. But
this is not all: a beaver or a rat might ruffle the mere surface of the
water, yet this leaves behind it a deep and gurgling furrow, as if the
element had been ploughed to its very bottom. Observe how the lake is
agitated and discoloured wherever it has passed. Moreover, I dislike
this sudden bustle on board the schooner, knowing, as I do, there is
not an officer present to order the movements now visibly going
forward. The men are evidently getting up the anchor; and see how her
sails are loosened, apparently courting the breeze, as if she would fly
to avoid some threatened danger. Would to Heaven this council scene
were over; for I do, as much as yourself, dearest Clara, distrust these
cruel Indians!"

A significant gesture from her trembling cousin again drew her
attention from the vessel to the boat. The animal, which now exhibited
the delicate and glossy fur of the beaver, had gained the stern, and
remained stationary within a foot of her quarter. Presently the sailor
made a sluggish movement, turning himself heavily on his side, and with
his face towards his curious and daring visitant. In the act the
tarpaulin hat had fallen from his eyes, but still he awoke not.
Scarcely had he settled himself in his new position, when, to the
infinite horror of the excited cousins, a naked human hand was raised
from beneath the surface of the lake, and placed upon the gunwale of
the boat Then rose slowly, and still covered with its ingenious
disguise, first the neck, then the shoulders, and finally the form,
even to the midwaist, of a dark and swarthy Indian, who, stooping low
and cautiously over the sailor, now reposed the hand that had quitted
the gunwale upon his form, while the other was thrust searchingly into
the belt encircling his waist.

Miss de Haldimar would have called out, to apprise the unhappy man of
his danger; but her voice refused its office, and her cousin was even
less capable of exertion than herself. The deep throbbings of their
hearts were now audible to each; for the dreadful interest they took in
the scene, had excited their feelings to the most intense stretch of
agony. At the very moment, however, when, with almost suspended
animation, they expected to see the knife of the savage driven into the
chest of the sleeping and unsuspecting sailor, the latter suddenly
started up, and, instinct with the full sense of the danger by which he
was menaced, in less time than we take to describe it, seized the
tiller of his rudder, the only available instrument within his reach,
and directing a powerful blow at the head of his amphibious enemy, laid
him, without apparent life or motion, across the boat.

"Almighty God! what can this mean?" exclaimed Miss de Haldimar, as soon
as she could recover her presence of mind. "There is some fearful
treachery in agitation; and a cloud now hangs over all, that will soon
burst with irresistible fury on our devoted heads. Clara, my love," and
she conducted the almost fainting girl to a seat, "wait here until I
return. The moment is critical, and my father must be apprised of what
we have seen. Unless the gates of the fort be instantly closed, we are

"Oh, Madeline, leave me not alone," entreated the sinking Clara. "We
will go together. Perhaps I may be of service to you below."

"The thought is good; but have you strength and courage to face the
dark chiefs in the council-room. If so, hasten there, and put my father
on his guard, while I fly across the parade, and warn Captain Baynton
of the danger."

With these words she drew the arm of her agitated cousin within her
own, and, rapidly traversing the apartment, gained the bed-room which
opened close upon the head of the principal staircase. Already were
they descending the first steps, when a loud cry, that sent a thrill of
terror through their blood, was heard from without the fort. For a
moment Miss de Haldimar continued irresolute; and leaning against the
rude balustrade for support, passed her hand rapidly across her brow,
as if to collect her scattered energies. The necessity for prompt and
immediate action was, however, evident; and she alone was capable of
exertion. Speechless with alarm, and trembling in every joint, the
unhappy Clara had now lost all command of her limbs; and, clinging
close to the side of her cousin, by her wild looks alone betrayed
consciousness had not wholly deserted her. The energy of despair lent
more than woman's strength to Miss de Haldimar. She caught the fainting
girl in her arms, retraced her way to the chamber, and depositing her
burden on the bed, emphatically enjoined her on no account to move
until her return. She then quitted the room, and rapidly descended the

For some moments all was still and hushed as the waveless air; and then
again a loud chorus of shouts was heard from the ramparts of the fort.
The choked breathing of the young girl became more free, and the blood
rushed once more from her oppressed heart to the extremities. Never did
tones of the human voice fall more gratefully on the ear of mariner
cast on some desert island, than did those on that of the highly
excited Clara. It was the loud laugh of the soldiery, who, collected
along the line of rampart in front, were watching the progress of the
ball-players. Cheered by the welcome sounds, she raised herself from
the bed to satisfy her eye her ear had not deceived her. The windows of
both bed-chambers looked immediately on the barrack square, and
commanded a full view of the principal entrance. From that at which she
now stood, the revived but still anxious girl could distinctly see all
that was passing in front. The ramparts were covered with soldiers,
who, armed merely with their bayonets, stood grouped in careless
attitudes--some with their wives leaning on their arms--others with
their children upraised, that they might the better observe the
enlivening sports without--some lay indolently with their legs
overhanging the works--others, assuming pugilistic attitudes, dealt
their harmless blows at each other,--and all were blended together,
men, women, and children, with that heedlessness of thought that told
how little of distrust existed within their breasts. The soldiers of
the guard, too, exhibited the same air of calm and unsuspecting
confidence; some walking to and fro within the square, while the
greater portion either mixed with their comrades above, or, with arms
folded, legs carelessly crossed, and pipe in mouth, leant lazily
against the gate, and gazed beyond the lowered drawbridge on the Indian

A mountain weight seemed to have been removed from the breast of Clara
at this sight, as she now dropped upon her knees before the window, and
raised her hands in pious acknowledgment to Heaven.

"Almighty God, I thank thee," she fervently exclaimed, her eye once
more lighting up, and her cheek half suffused with blushes at her late
vague and idle fears; while she embraced, at a single glance, the whole
of the gladdening and inspiriting scene.

While her soul was yet upturned whither her words had gone before, her
ears were again assailed by sounds that curdled her blood, and made her
spring to her feet as if stricken by a bullet through the heart; or
powerfully touched by some electric fluid. It was the well-known and
devilish war-cry of the savages, startling the very air through which
it passed, and falling like a deadly blight upon the spirit. With a
mechanical and desperate effort at courage, the unhappy girl turned her
eyes below, and there met images of death in their most appalling
shapes. Hurry and confusion and despair were every where visible; for a
band of Indians were already in the fort, and these, fast succeeded by
others, rushed like a torrent into the square, and commenced their
dreadful work of butchery. Many of the terrified soldiers, without
thinking of drawing their bayonets, flew down the ramparts in order to
gain their respective block-houses for their muskets: but these every
where met death from the crashing tomahawk, short rifle, or gleaming
knife;--others who had presence of mind sufficient to avail themselves
of their only weapons of defence, rushed down in the fury of
desperation on the yelling fiends, resolved to sell their lives as
dearly as possible; and for some minutes an obstinate contest was
maintained: but the vast superiority of the Indian numbers triumphed;
and although the men fought with all the fierceness of despair, forcing
their way to the block-houses, their mangled corpses strewed the area
in every direction. Neither was the horrid butchery confined to these.
Women clinging to their husbands for protection, and, in the
recklessness of their despair, impeding the efforts of the latter in
their self-defence--children screaming in terror, or supplicating mercy
on their bonded knees--infants clasped to their parents' breasts,--all
alike sunk under the unpitying steel of the blood-thirsty savages. At
the guard-house the principal stand had been made; for at the first
rush into the fort, the men on duty had gained their station, and,
having made fast the barricades, opened their fire upon the enemy.
Mixed pele-mele as they were with the Indians, many of the English were
shot by their own comrades, who, in the confusion of the moment, were
incapable of taking a cool and discriminating aim. These, however, were
finally overcome. A band of desperate Indians rushed upon the main
door, and with repeated blows from their tomahawks and massive
war-clubs, succeeded in demolishing it, while others diverted the fire
of those within. The door once forced, the struggle was soon over.
Every man of the guard perished; and their scalpless and disfigured
forms were thrown out to swell the number of those that already deluged
the square with their blood.

Even amid all the horrors of this terrific scene, the agonised Clara
preserved her consciousness. The very imminence of the danger endued
her with strength to embrace it under all its most disheartening
aspects; and she, whose mind had been wrought up to the highest pitch
of powerful excitement by the mere preliminary threatenings, was
comparatively collected under the catastrophe itself. Death, certain
death, to all, she saw was inevitable; and while her perception at once
embraced the futility of all attempts at escape from the general doom,
she snatched from despair the power to follow its gloomy details
without being annihilated under their weight.

The confusion of the garrison had now reached its acme of horror. The
shrieks of women and the shrill cries of children, as they severally
and fruitlessly fled from the death certain to overtake them in the
end,--the cursings of the soldiers, the yellings of the Indians, the
reports of rifles, and the crashings of tomahawks;--these, with the
stamping of human feet in the death struggle maintained in the
council-room below between the chiefs and the officers, and which shook
the block-house to its very foundation, all mixed up in terrible chorus
together, might have called up a not inapt image of hell to the
bewildered and confounding brain. And yet the sun shone in yellow
lustre, and all Nature smiled, and wore an air of calm, as if the
accursed deed had had the sanction of Heaven, and the spirits of light
loved to look upon the frightful atrocities then in perpetration.

In the first distraction of her spirit, Clara had utterly lost all
recollection of her cousin; but now that she had, with unnatural
desperation, brought her mind to bear upon the fiercest points of the
grim reality, she turned her eye every where amid the scene of death in
search of the form of her beloved Madeline, whom she did not remember
to have seen cross the parade in pursuance of the purpose she had
named. While she yet gazed fearfully from the window, loud bursts of
mingled anguish and rage, that were almost drowned in the fiercer yells
with which they were blended, ascended from the ground floor of the
block-house. These had hitherto been suppressed, as if the desperate
attack of the chiefs on the officers had been made with closed doors.
Now, however, there was an evident outburst of all parties into the
passage; and there the struggle appeared to be desperately and
fearfully maintained. In the midst of that chaotic scene, the loud and
piercing shriek of a female rose far above the discordant yell even of
the savages. There was an instant of pause, and then the crashing of a
skull was heard, and the confusion was greater than before, and
shrieks, and groans, and curses, and supplications rent the air.

The first single shriek came from Madeline de Haldimar, and vibrated
through every chord of the heart on which it sank. Scarcely conscious
of what she did, Clara, quitting the window, once more gained the top
of the staircase, and at the extremity of her voice called on the name
of her cousin in the most piteous accents. She was answered by a loud
shout from the yelling band; and presently bounding feet and screaming
voices were heard ascending the stairs. The terrified girl fancied at
the moment she heard a door open on the floor immediately below her,
and some one dart suddenly up the flight communicating with the spot on
which she stood. Without waiting to satisfy herself, she rushed with
all the mechanical instinct of self-preservation back into her own
apartment. As she passed the bed-room window, she glanced once more
hastily into the area below, and there beheld a sight that, filling her
soul with despair, paralysed all further exertion. A tall savage was
bearing off the apparently lifeless form of her cousin through the
combatants in the square, her white dress stained all over with blood,
and her beautiful hair loosened and trailing on the ground. She
followed with her burning eyes until they passed the drawbridge, and
finally disappeared behind the intervening rampart, and then bowing her
head between her hands, and sinking upon her knees, she reposed her
forehead against the sill of the window, and awaited unshrinkingly, yet
in a state of inconceivable agony, the consummation of her own unhappy

The sounds of ascending feet were now heard in the passage without; and
presently, while the clangour of a thousand demons seemed to ring
throughout the upper part of the building, a man rushed furiously into
the room. The blood of the young girl curdled in her veins. She
mechanically grasped the ledge of the window on which her aching head
still reposed, and with her eyes firmly closed, to shut out from view
the fiend whose sight she dreaded, even more than the death which
threatened her, quietly awaited the blow that was to terminate at once
her misery and her life. Scarcely, however, had the feet of the
intruder pressed the sanctuary of her bedchamber, when the heavy door,
strongly studded with nails, was pushed rapidly to, and bolt and lock
were heard sliding into their several sockets. Before Clara could raise
her head to discover the cause of this movement, she felt herself
firmly secured in the grasp of an encircling arm, and borne hastily
through the room. An instinctive sense of something worse even than
death now flashed across the mind of the unhappy girl; and while she
feared to unclose her eyes, she struggled violently to disengage

"Clara! dear Miss de Haldimar, do you not know me?" exclaimed her
supporter, while, placing her for a moment on a seat, he proceeded to
secure the fastenings of the second door, that led from the bed-chamber
into the larger apartment.

Re-assured by the tones of a voice which, even in that dreadful moment
of trial and destruction, were familiar to her ear, the trembling girl
opened her eyes wildly upon her protector. A slight scream of terror
marked her painful sense of the recognition. It was Captain Baynton
whom she beheld: but how unlike the officer who a few minutes before
had been conversing with her from the ramparts. His fine hair, matted
with blood, now hung loosely and disfiguringly over his eyes, and his
pallid face and brow were covered with gore spots, the evident
spatterings from the wounds of others; while a stream that issued from
one side of his head attested he himself had not escaped unhurt in the
cruel melee. A skirt and a lappel had been torn from his uniform,
which, together with other portions of his dress, were now stained in
various parts by the blood continually flowing from his wound.

"Oh, Captain Baynton," murmured the fainting girl, her whole soul
sinking within her, as she gazed shudderingly on his person, "is there
no hope for us? must we die?"

"No, by Heaven, not while I have strength to save you," returned the
officer, with energy. "If the savages have not penetrated to the rear,
we may yet escape. I saw the postern open just now, on my passage round
the rampart, and the boat of the schooner upon the strand. Ha!" he
exclaimed, as he flew to the window, and cast his eye rapidly below,
"we are lost! The gate is still clear, and not an Indian to be seen;
but the coward sailor is pulling for his life towards the vessel. But
hold! another boat is now quitting the ship's side. See, how manfully
they give themselves to the oars: in a few minutes they will be here.
Come, Clara, let us fly!" and again he caught her in his arms, and bore
her across the room. "Hark, hear you not the exulting yellings of the
monsters? They are forcing the outer door: mark how they redouble their
efforts to break it open! That passed, but one more barrier remains
between us and inevitable and instant death."

"And my cousin, my uncle!" shrieked the unhappy girl, as the officer
now bore her rapidly down the back staircase.

"Oh, ask me not!" exclaimed Baynton: "were I to linger again on all I
have witnessed, I should go mad. All, all have perished! but, hark!"

A tremendous yell now bursting from the passage, announced at once, the
triumph of the savages in having effected an entrance into the
bed-room, and their disappointment at finding their pursuit baulked by
a second door. Presently afterwards their heavy weapons were to be
heard thundering at this new obstacle, in the most furious manner. This
gave new stimulus to the exertions of the generous officer. Each
winding of the staircase was familiar to him, and he now descended it
with a rapidity which, considering the burden that reposed against his
chest, could only have been inspired by his despair. The flight
terminated at a door that led directly upon the rampart, without
communicating with any of the passages of the building; and in this
consisted the principal facility of escape: for, in order to reach
them, the savages must either make the circuit of the block-house, or
overtake them in the course they were now following. In this trying
emergency, the presence of mind of the young officer, wounded and
bleeding as he was, did not desert him. On quitting the larger
apartment above, he had secured the outside fastenings of a small door
at the top of the stairs, and having now gained the bottom, he took a
similar precaution. All that remained was to unclose the bolts of the
ponderous door that opened upon their final chance of escape: this was
speedily done, but here the feelings of the officer were put to a
severe test. A rude partition divided him from the fatal council-room;
and while he undid the fastenings, the faint and dying groans of his
butchered brother officers rung in his ears, even at the moment that he
felt his feet dabbling in the blood that oozed through the imperfectly
closed planks of which the partition was composed. As for Clara, she
was insensible to all that was passing. From the moment of the Indian
yell, announcing their entry into the bed-room, she had fainted.

The huge door came now creaking back upon its hinges, when the sounds
of the yet unfinished conflict in front, which had hitherto been
deadened in their descent through the remote staircase, rang once more
fiercely and startlingly upon the ear. A single glance satisfied
Captain Baynton the moment for exertion was come, and that the way to
the lake shore, which, by some strange oversight, both the Indians and
the men had overlooked, was perfectly clear. He clasped his unconscious
burden closer to his chest, and then, setting his life upon the cast,
hastened down the few steps that led to the rampart, and dashed rapidly
through the postern; in the next minute he stood on the uttermost verge
of the sands, unharmed and onfollowed. He cast his eyes anxiously along
the surface of the lake; but such was the excitement and confusion of
his mind, produced by the horrid recollection of the past scene, it was
not until he had been abruptly hailed from it, he could see a boat, at
the distance of about two hundred yards, the crew of which were lying
on their oars. It was the long boat of the schooner, which, prevented
from a nearer approach by a sand bar that ran along the lake to a
considerable extent, had taken her station there to receive the
fugitives. Two tall young men in the dress, yet having little the mien,
of common sailors, were standing up in her stern; and one of these,
with evident anxiety in his manner, called on Baynton by name to make
the best of his way to the boat. At that moment a loud and frantic yell
came from the block-house the latter had just quitted. In the wild
impulse of his excited feelings, he answered with a cheer of defiance,
as he turned to discover the precise point whence it proceeded. The
windows of the apartment so recently occupied by the unhappy cousins,
were darkened with savage forms, who now pealed forth their mingled
fury and disappointment in the most terrific manner.

"Fly, fly, Baynton, or you are lost!" exclaimed the same voice from the
boat; "the devils are levelling from the windows."

While he yet spake several shots came whizzing along the waters, and a
spent ball even struck the now rapidly fleeing officer in the back; but
the distance was too great for serious injury. The guns of the savages
had been cut so short for their desperate enterprise, that they carried
little further than a horse pistol.

Again, in the desperation of his feelings, and heedless of the danger
he was drawing on himself and charge, the officer turned fiercely round
and shouted, at his utmost lungs, a peal of triumph in the ears of his
enemies. Scarcely, however, had the sounds escaped his lips, when two
hideously painted Indians sprang through the postern, and, silent as
the spectres they resembled, rushed down the sands, and thence into the
lake. Loud shouts from the windows above were again pealed forth, and
from the consternation visible on the features of those within the
boat, the nearly exhausted Baynton learnt all the risk he incurred.
Summoning all his strength, he now made the most desperate efforts to
reach his friends. The lake was little more than knee deep from the
shore to the bar, but, encumbered as he was, the difficulty opposed to
his movements was immeasurably against him, and yet he seemed
generously resolved rather to perish than relinquish his charge.
Already were his pursuers, now closely followed by a numerous band,
within twenty yards of him, when the two young men, each armed with a
cutlass and pistol, sprang from the boat upon the sand bar: as the
Indians came on they fired deliberately at them, but both missed their
aim. Encouraged by this failure, the fearless devils dashed eagerly on,
brandishing their gleaming tomahawks, but littering not a sound.
Already was the unfortunate Baynton within a few feet of the bar, when
he felt that the savages were immediately upon him.

"Take, take, for God's sake take her!" he cried, as with a desperate
effort he threw the light form of the still unconscious girl into the
arms of one of the young men. "My strength is quite exhausted, and I
can do no more."

For the first time a yell burst from the lips of the pursuing savages,
as they saw him, to whom the guardianship of the wretched Clara was now
confided, suddenly spring from the sand bar into the lake, and in a few
rapid strokes gain the side of the boat. Leaving the hapless Baynton to
be disposed of by his companion, the foremost darted upon the bank,
burning with disappointment, and resolved to immolate another victim.
For a moment he balanced his tomahawk, and then, with the rapidity of
thought, darted it at the covered head of the youth who still lingered
on the bar. A well-timed movement of the latter averted the blow, and
the whizzing steel passed harmlessly on. A gutteral "Ugh!" marked the
disappointment of the Indian, now reduced to his scalping-knife; but
before he could determine whether to advance or to retreat, his
opponent had darted upon him, and, with a single blow from his cutlass,
cleft his skull nearly asunder. The next instantaneous purpose of the
victor was to advance to the rescue of the exhausted Baynton; but, when
he turned to look for him, he saw the mangled form of what had once
been that gallant and handsome officer floating, without life or
motion, on the blood-stained surface of the Huron, while his fiendish
murderer, calmly awaiting the approach of his companions, held up the
reeking scalp, in triumph, to the view of the still yelling groups
within the block-house.

"Noble, generous, self-devoted fellow!" exclaimed the youth, as he
fixed his burning tearless eye for a moment on the unfortunate victim;
"even you, then, are not spared to tell the horrid story of this
butchery; yet is the fate of the fallen far, far more enviable than
that of those who have survived this day." He then committed his
cutlass to its sheath; and, leaping into the deep water that lay beyond
the bar, was, in a few seconds, once more in the stern of the boat.

Meanwhile, the numerous band, who followed their two first fierce
comrades into the lake, bounded rapidly forward; and, so active were
their movements, that, at almost the same moment when the second of the
youths had gained his temporary place of refuge, they stood yelling and
screaming on the sand bar he had just quitted. Two or three, excited to
desperation by the blood they had seen spilt, plunged unhesitatingly
into the opposite depths of the lake; and the foremost of these was the
destroyer of the ill-fated Baynton. With his bloody scalping-knife
closely clutched between his teeth, and his tomahawk in his right hand,
this fierce warrior buffeted the waves lustily with one arm, and,
noiselessly as in the early part of his pursuit, urged his way towards
the boat. In the stern of this a few planks from the schooner had been
firmly lashed, to serve as a shield against the weapons of the savages,
and was so arranged as to conceal all within while retiring from the
shore. A small aperture had, however, been bored for the purpose of
observing the movements of the enemy without risk. Through this an eye
was now directed, while only the blades of the oars were to be seen
projecting from the boat's sides as they reposed in their rowlocks.
Encouraged by the seeming apathy and inertness of the crew, the
swimming savages paused not to consider of consequences, but continued
their daring course as if they had apprehended neither risk nor
resistance. Presently a desperate splash was heard near the stern of
the boat, and the sinuous form of the first savage was raised above the
gunwale, his grim face looking devilish in its war-paint, and his
fierce eyes gleaming and rolling like fire-balls in their sockets.
Scarcely was he seen, however, when he had again disappeared. A blow
from the cutlass that had destroyed his companion descended like
lightning on his naked and hairless head; and, in the agony of death,
he might be seen grinding his teeth against the knife which the
instinctive ferocity of his nature forbade his relinquishing. A yell of
fury burst from the savages on the bar, and presently a shower of
bullets ran whistling through the air. Several were heard striking the
rude rampart in the stem; but, although the boat was scarcely out of
pistol-shot, the thickness of the wood prevented all injury to those
within. Another fierce yell followed this volley; and then nearly a
score of warriors, giving their guns in charge to their companions,
plunged furiously into the water; and, with an air of the most
infuriated determination, leaped rather than swam along its surface.

"Now, then, my lads, give way," said he at the look-out; "there are
more than a dozen of the devils in full cry; and our only chance is in
flight! Ha! another here!" as, turning to issue these directions, he
chanced to see the dark hand of a savage at that moment grasping the
gunwale of the boat, as if with a view to retard her movements until
the arrival of his companions.

A heavy blow from his cutlass accompanied these words. The fingers,
divided at their very roots, rolled to the bottom of the boat, and the
carcase of the savage dropped, with a yell of anguish, far in the rear.
The heavy oar-blades of the seamen now made play, dashing the lake away
in sheets of foam; and, in less than five minutes, the heads of the
swimming savages were seen mingling like so many rats upon the water,
as they returned once more in disappointment from their fruitless


The sun had gone down, as he had risen, in all the gloriousness of his
autumnal splendour, and twilight was now fast descending on the waters
of the Huron. A slight breeze was just beginning to make itself felt
from the land, the gradual rising of which was hailed by many an
anxious heart, as the schooner, which had been making vain attempts to
quit her anchorage during the day, now urged her light bows through the
slightly curling element. A death-like silence, interrupted only by the
low gruff voice of a veteran seaman, as he issued, in technical
language, the necessary orders for the management of the vessel,
prevailed every where along her decks. The dress and general appearance
of this individual announced him for a petty officer of the royal
service; and it was evident, from the tone of authority with which he
spoke, he was now in the enjoyment of a temporary command. The crew,
consisting of about thirty souls, and chiefly veterans of the same
class, were assembled along the gangways, each man wearing a brace of
pistols in the belt, which, moreover, secured a naked cutlass around
his loins; and these now lingered near the several guns that were
thrown out from their gloomy looking ports, as if ready for some active
service. But, although the arming of these men indicated hostile
preparation, there was none of that buoyancy of movement and animation
of feature to be observed, which so usually characterise the
indomitable daring of the British sailor. Some stood leaning their
heads pensively on their hands against the rigging and hammocks that
were stowed away along the bulwarks, after the fashion of war ships in
boarding; others, with arms tightly folded across their chests, spirted
the tobacco juice thoughtfully from their closed teeth into the
receding waters; while not a few gazed earnestly and despondingly on
the burning fort in the distance, amid the rolling volumes of smoke and
flame from which, ever and anon, arose the fiendish yell of those who,
having already sacked, were now reducing it to ashes. Nor was this the
only object of their attention. On the sand bank alluded to in our last
chapter were to be dimly seen through the growing dusk, the dark
outlines of many of the savages, who, frantic with rage at their
inability to devote them to the same doom, were still unwilling to quit
a spot which approached them nearest to the last surviving objects of
their enmity. Around this point, were collected numerous canoes, filled
also with warriors; and, at the moment when the vessel, obeying the
impulse given by her flowing sails, glided from her anchorage, these
followed, scudding in her wake, and made a show of attacking her in the
stern. The sudden yawing of the schooner, however, in bringing her tier
of bristling ports into view, had checked the ardour of the pursuing
fleet; and the discharge of a single gun, destroying in its course
three of their canoes, and carrying death among those who directed
them, had driven them back, in the greatest hurry and confusion, to
their yelling and disappointed comrades.

The after-deck of the schooner presented a different, though not less
sombre and discouraging, scene. On a pile of mattresses lay the light
and almost inanimate form of Clara de Haldimar; her fair and redundant
hair overshadowing her pallid brow and cheek, and the dress she had
worn at the moment of her escape from the fort still spotted with the
blood of her generous but unfortunate preserver. Close at her side,
with her hands clasped in his, while he watched the expression of deep
suffering reflected from each set feature, and yet with the air of one
pre-occupied with some other subject of painful interest, sat, on an
empty shot-box, the young man in sailor's attire, whose cutlass had
performed the double service of destroying his own immediate opponent,
and avenging the death of the devoted Baynton. At the head of the rude
couch, and leaning against a portion of the schooner's stern-work,
stood his companion, who from delicacy appeared to have turned away his
eyes from the group below, merely to cast them vacantly on the dark
waters through which the vessel was now beginning to urge her course.

Such was the immediate position of this little party, when the gun
fired at the Indians was heard booming heavily along the lake. The loud
report, in exciting new sources of alarm, seemed to have dissipated the
spell that had hitherto chained the energies and perception of the
still weak, but now highly excited girl.

"Oh, Captain Baynton, where are we?" she exclaimed, starting up
suddenly in terror, and throwing her arms around him, who sat at her
side, as if she would have clung to him for protection. "Is the horrid
massacre not finished yet? Where is Madeline? where is my cousin? Oh, I
cannot leave the fort without her."

"Ha! where indeed is she?" exclaimed the youth, as he clasped his
trembling and scarcely conscious burden to his chest, "Almighty God,
where is she?" Then, after a short pause, and in a voice of tender but
exquisite anguish, "Clara, my beloved sister, do you not know me? It is
not Baynton but your brother, who now clasps you to his breaking heart."

A deluge of tears was the only answer of the wretched girl. They were
the first she had shed,--the first marks of consciousness she had
exhibited. Hitherto her heart had been oppressed; every fibre of her
brain racked almost to bursting, and filled only with ghastly flitting
visions of the dreadful horrors she had seen perpetrated, she had
continued, since the moment of her fainting in the block-house, as one
bereft of all memory of the past, or apprehension of the present. But
now, the full outpouring of her grief relieved her overcharged brain
and heart, even while the confused images floating before her
recollection acquired a more tangible and painful character. She raised
herself a moment from the chest on which her burning head reposed,
looked steadfastly in the face that hung anxiously over her own, and
saw indeed that it was her brother. She tried to speak, but she could
not utter a word, for the memory of all that had occurred that fatal
morning rushed with mountain weight upon her fainting spirit, and again
she wept, and more bitterly than before.

The young man pressed her in silence to his chest; nor was it until she
had given full vent to her grief, that he ventured to address her on
the subject of his own immediate sorrows. At length, when she appeared
somewhat more calm, he observed, in a voice broken by emotion,--

"Clara, dearest, what account have you to give me of Madeline? Has she
shared the fate of all? or have you reason to suppose her life has been

Another burst of tears succeeded to these questions, for coupled with
the name of her cousin arose all the horrid associations connected with
her loss. As soon, however, as she could compose herself, she briefly
stated all she had witnessed of the affair, from the moment when the
boat of the schooner was seen to meet the strange looking object on the
water, to that when she had beheld her ill-fated cousin borne away
apparently lifeless in the arms of the tall Indian by whom she had been

During this recital, the heart of Captain de Haldimar,--for it was
he,--beat audibly against the cheek that still reposed on his breast;
but when his sister had, in a faint voice, closed her melancholy
narrative with the manner of her cousin's disappearance, he gave a
sudden start, uttering at the same time an exclamation of joy.

"Thank God, she still lives!" he cried, pressing his sister once more
in fondness to his heart; then turning to his companion, who, although
seemingly abstracted, had been a silent and attentive witness of the
scene,--"By Heaven! Valletort, there is yet a hope. She it was indeed
whom we saw borne out of the fort, and subsequently made to walk by the
cruel Indian who had charge of her."

"Valletort, Valletort," murmured Clara unconsciously, her sick heart
throbbing with she knew not what. "How is this, Frederick?--Where,
then, is Captain Baynton? and how came you here?"

"Alas! Clara, poor Baynton is no more. Even at the moment when he
confided the unconscious burden, preserved at the peril of his own
life, to the arms of Sir Everard here, he fell beneath the tomahawk of
a pursuing savage. Poor, noble, generous Baynton," he continued,
mournfully; "to him, indeed, Clara, are you indebted for your life; yet
was it purchased at the price of his own."

Again the pained and affectionate girl wept bitterly, and her brother

"The strange object you saw on the lake, my love, was nothing more than
a canoe disguised with leafy boughs, in which Sir Everard Valletort and
myself, under the guidance of old Francois of the Fleur de lis, whom
you must recollect, have made the dangerous passage of the Sinclair in
the garb of duck hunters,--which latter we had only discarded on
reaching the schooner, in order to assume another we conceived better
suited to our purpose. Alas!" and he struck his hand violently against
his brow, "had we made directly for the shore without touching the
vessel at all, there might have been time to save those we came to
apprise of their danger. Do you not think there was, Valletort?"

"Most assuredly not," returned his companion, anxious to remove the
impression of self-blame that existed in the mind of Captain de
Haldimar. "From the moment of our reaching the schooner, which lay
immediately in our route, to that when the shout was raised by the
savages as they rushed into the fort, there was scarcely an interval of
three minutes; and it would have required a longer period to have
enabled us even to gain the shore."

"Thank, thank you for that!" exclaimed the officer, drawing himself up
with the air of one who breathes more freely. "I would not, for the
wealth and honours of the united world, that such a cause for
self-reproach should linger on my mind. By Heaven! it would break my
heart to think we had been in time to save them, and yet had lost the
opportunity through even one moment of neglect." Then turning once more
to his sister,--"Now, Clara, that I see you in safety, I have another
sacred duty to perform. I must leave you, but not alone."

"What mean you, Frederick?" exclaimed his agitated sister, clinging
more closely to his embrace. "Scarce have we met, and you talk of
leaving me. Oh, whither would you go?"

"Surely, my love," and he spoke half reproachfully, although with
tenderness of accent, "my meaning must be obvious. But what do I say?
You know it not. Madeline still lives. We saw her, as we pulled towards
the shore, led across the clearing in the direction of Chabouiga. Hear
me, then: the canoe in which we came is still towing from the vessel's
stern, and in this do I mean to embark, without further loss of time,
in search of her who is dearer to me than existence. I know," he
pursued with emotion, "I have but little hope of rescuing, even if I do
succeed in finding her; but at least I shall not have to suffer under
the self-reproach of having neglected the only chance that now lies
within my reach. If she be doomed to die, I shall then have nothing
left to live for--except you, Clara," he concluded, after a pause,
pressing the weeping girl to his heart, as he remarked how much she
seemed pained by the declaration.

Having placed his sister once more on the couch, and covered her with a
cloak that had been brought from the cabin of the unfortunate
commander, Captain de Haldimar now rose from his humble seat, and
grasping the hand of his friend,--

"Valletort," he said, "I commit this dear girl to your keeping.
Hitherto we have been equal sharers in an enterprise having for its
object the preservation of our mutual companions and friends. At
present, interests of a more personal nature occupy my attention; and
to these must I devote myself alone. I trust you will reach Detroit in
safety; and when you have delivered my unfortunate sister into the arms
of her father, you will say to him from me, I could not survive the
loss of that being to whom I had sworn eternal fidelity and affection.
Francois must be my only companion on this occasion. Nay," he
continued, pointing to his sister, in answer to the rising remonstrance
of the baronet, "will you desert the precious charge I have confided to
your keeping? Recollect, Valletort," in a more subdued tone, "that
besides yourself, there will be none near her but rude and uneducated
sailors;--honest men enough in their way, it is true; but not the sort
of people to whom I should like to confide my poor sister."

The warm and silent pressure by Sir Everard of his hand announced his
participation in the sentiment; and Captain de Haldimar now hastened
forward to apprise the Canadian of his purpose. He found mine host of
the Fleur de lis seated in the forecastle of the schooner; and with an
air of the most perfect unconcern discussing a substantial meal,
consisting of dried uncooked venison, raw onions, and Indian corn
bread, the contents of a large bag or wallet that lay at his feet. No
sooner, however, had the impatient officer communicated his design,
asking at the same time if he might expect his assistance in the
enterprise, than the unfinished meal of the Canadian was discontinued,
the wallet refilled, and the large greasy clasp-knife with which the
portions had been separated, closed and thrust into a pocket of his
blanket coat.

"I shall go to de devils for you, capitaine, if we must," he said, as
he raised his portly form, not without effort, from the deck, slapping
the shoulder of the officer at the same time somewhat rudely with his
hand. There was nothing, however, offensively familiar in this action.
It expressed merely the devotedness of heart with which the man lent
himself to the service to which he had pledged himself, and was rather
complimentary than otherwise to him to whom it was directed. Captain de
Haldimar took it in the light in which we have just shown it, and he
grasped and shook the rough hand of the Canadian with an earnestness
highly gratifying to the latter.

Every thing was now in readiness for their departure. The canoe, still
covered with its streaming boughs, was drawn close up to the gangway,
and a few hasty necessaries thrown in. While this was passing, the
officer had again assumed his disguise of a duck-hunter; and he now
appeared in the blanket costume in which we introduced Sir Everard and
himself at the opening of this volume.

"If I may be so bold as to put in my oar, your honour,"--said the
veteran boatswain, on whom the command of the schooner had fallen, as
he now advanced, rolling his quid in his mouth, and dropping his hat on
his shoulder, while the fingers of the hand which clutched it were
busily occupied in scratching his bald head,--"if I may be so bold,
there is another chap here as might better sarve your honour's purpose
than that 'ere fat Canadian, who seems to think only of stuffing while
his betters are fasting."

"And who is he, my good Mullins?" asked Captain de Haldimar.

"Why, that 'ere Ingian, your honour, as began the butchery in the fort,
yonder, by trying to kill Jack Fuller while he laid asleep this
morning, waiting for the captain in the jolly boat. Jack never seed him
coming, until he felt his black hands upon his throat, and then he ups
with the tiller at his noddle, and sends him floundering across the
boat's thwarts like a flat-fish. I thought, your honour, seeing as how
I have got the command of the schooner, of tying him up to the
mainmast, and giving him two or three round dozen or so, and then
sending him to swim among the mascannungy with a twenty-four pound shot
in his neckcloth; but, seeing as how your honour is going among them
savages agin, I thought as how some good might be done with him, if
your honour could contrive to keep him in tow, and close under your lee
quarter, to prevent his escape."

"At all events," returned the officer, after a pause of some moments,
during which he appeared to be deliberating on his course of action,
"it may be dangerous to keep him in the vessel; and yet, if we take him
ashore, he may be the means of our more immediate destruction; unless,
indeed, as you observe, he can be so secured as to prevent the
possibility of escape: but that I very much doubt indeed. Where is he,
Mullins? I should like to see and question him."

"He shall be up, your honour, in no time," replied the sailor, once
more resuming his hat, and moving a pace or two forward. Then
addressing two or three men in the starboard gangway in the
authoritative tone of command:--"Bear a hand there, my men, and cast
off the lashings of that black Ingian, and send him aft, here, to the

The order was speedily executed. In a few minutes the Indian stood on
the quarter-deck, his hands firmly secured behind, and his head sunk
upon his chest in sullen despondency. In the increasing gloom in which
objects were now gradually becoming more and more indistinct, it was
impossible for Captain de Haldimar to distinguish his features; but
there was something in the outline of the Indian's form that impressed
him with the conviction he had seen it before. Advancing a pace or two
forward, he pronounced, in an emphatic and audible whisper, the name of

The Indian gave an involuntary start,--uttered a deep interjectional
"Ugh!"--and, raising his head from his chest, fixed his eye heavily on
the officer.

"Hookynaster!--Hookynaster!" growled Jack Fuller, who had followed to
hear the examination of his immediate captive: "why, your honour, that
jaw-breaking name reminds me as how the chap had a bit of a paper when
I chucked him into the jolly boat, stuck in his girdle. It was covered
over with pencil-marks, as writing like; but all was rubbed out agin,
except some such sort of a name as that."

"Where is it?--what have you done with it?" hastily asked Captain de

"Here, in my backy-box, your honour. I kept it safe, thinking as how it
might sarve to let us know all about it afterwards."

The sailor now drew from the receptacle just named a dirty piece of
folded paper, deeply impregnated with the perfume of stale and oft
rechewed quids of coarse tobacco; and then, with the air of one
conscious of having "rendered the state some service," hitched up his
trowsers with one hand, while with the other he extended the important

To glance his eye hurriedly over the paper by the light of a dark
lanthorn that had meanwhile been brought upon deck, unclasp his
hunting-knife, and divide the ligatures of the captive, and then warmly
press his liberated hands within his own, were, with Captain de
Haldimar, but the work of a minute.

"Hilloa! which the devil way does the wind blow now?" muttered Fuller,
the leer of self-satisfaction that had hitherto played in his eye
rapidly giving place to an air of seriousness and surprise; an
expression that was not at all diminished by an observation from his
new commander.

"I tell you what it is, Jack," said the latter, impressively; "I don't
pretend to have more gumption (qu. discernment?) than my messmates; but
I can see through a millstone as clear as any man as ever heaved a lead
in these here lakes; and may I never pipe boatswain's whistle again, if
you 'ar'n't, some how or other, in the wrong box. That 'ere Ingian's
one of us!"

The feelings of Captain de Haldimar may easily be comprehended by our
readers, when, on glancing at the paper, he found himself confirmed in
the impression previously made on him by the outline of the captive's
form. The writing, nearly obliterated by damp, had been rudely traced
by his own pencil on a leaf torn from his pocket-book. In the night of
his visit to the Indian encampment, and at the moment when, seated on
the fatal log, Oucanasta had generously promised her assistance in at
least rescuing his betrothed bride. They were addressed to Major de
Haldimar, and briefly stated that a treacherous plan was in
contemplation by the enemy to surprise the fort, which the bearer,
Oucanasta (the latter word strongly marked), would fully explain, if
she could possibly obtain access within. From the narrative entered
into by Clara, who had particularly dwelt on the emotions of fear that
had sprung up in her own and cousin's heart by the sudden
transformation of a supposed harmless beaver into a fierce and
threatening savage, he had no difficulty in solving the enigma.

The Indian, in whom he had recognised the young chief who had saved him
from the fury of Wacousta, had evidently been won upon by his sister to
perform a service which offered so much less difficulty to a warrior
than to a woman; and it was clear, that, finding all other means of
communication with the fort, undiscovered by his own people,
impracticable, he had availed himself of the opportunity, when he saw
the boat waiting on the strand, to assume a disguise so well adapted to
insure success. It was no remarkable thing in these countries, to see
both the beaver and the otter moving on the calm surface of the waters
in the vicinity of the forts, even at mid-day; and occupied as the
Indians were, to a man, at that moment with their cruel projects, it
was by no means likely that their attention should have been called off
from these to so apparently unimportant a circumstance. The act that
had principally alarmed the cousins, and terminated, as we have seen,
in the sudden attack of the sailor, had evidently been misconceived.
The hand supposed to be feeling for the heart of the sluggard, had, in
all probability, been placed on his chest with a view to arouse him
from his slumber; while that which was believed to have been dropped to
the handle of his knife, was, in reality, merely seeking the paper that
contained the announcement, which, if then delivered, might have saved
the garrison.

Such was the tram of conjecture that now passed through the mind of the
officer; but, although he thus placed the conduct of the Indian in the
most favourable light, his impression received no confirmation from the
lips of the latter. Sullen and doggedly, notwithstanding the release
from his bonds, the Ottawa hung his head upon his chest, with his eyes
riveted on the deck, and obstinately refused to answer every question
put to him by his deliverer. This, however, did not the less tend to
confirm Captain de Haldimar in his belief. He knew enough of the Indian
character, to understand the indignant and even revengeful spirit
likely to be aroused by the treatment the savage had met with in return
for his intended services. He was aware that, without pausing to
reflect on the fact, that the sailor, ignorant of his actual purpose,
could merely have seen in him an enemy in the act of attempting his
life, the chief would only consider and inflame himself over the
recollection of the blow inflicted; and that, with the true obstinacy
of his race, he would rather suffer captivity or death itself, than
humble the haughty pride of his nature, by condescending to an
explanation with those by whom he felt himself so deeply injured.
Still, even amid all his own personal griefs,--griefs that rendered the
boon in some degree at present valueless,--Captain de Haldimar could
not forget that the youth, no matter by what motive induced, had
rescued him from a dreadful death on a previous occasion. With the
generous warmth, therefore, of a grateful mind, he now sought to
impress on the Indian the deep sense of obligation under which he
laboured; explaining at the same time the very natural error into which
the sailor had fallen, and concluding with a declaration that he was
free to quit the vessel in the canoe in which he himself was about to
take his departure for the shore, in search of her whom his sister had
pledged herself, at all hazards, to save.

The address of the officer, touching and impressive as language ever is
that comes from the heart, was not altogether without effect on the
Indian. Several times he interrupted him with a short, quick, approving
"Ugh!" and when he at length received the assurance that he was no
longer a prisoner, he raised his eyes rapidly, although without moving
his head, to the countenance of his deliverer. Already were his lips
opening to speak for the first time, when the attention of the group
around him was arrested by his giving a sudden start of surprise. At
the same moment he raised his head, stretched his neck, threw forward
his right ear, and, uttering a loud and emphatic "Waugh!" pointed with
his finger over the bows of the vessel.

All listened for upwards of a minute in mute suspense; and then a faint
and scarcely distinguishable sound was heard in the direction in which
he pointed. Scarcely had it floated on the air, when a shrill, loud,
and prolonged cry, of peculiar tendency, burst hurriedly and eagerly
from the lips of the captive; and, spreading over the broad expanse of
water, seemed to be re-echoed back from every point of the surrounding

Great was the confusion that followed this startling yell on the decks
of the schooner. "Cut the hell-fiend down!"--"Chuck him
overboard!"--"We are betrayed!"--"Every man to his gun!"--"Put the
craft about!" were among the numerous exclamations that now rose
simultaneously from at least twenty lips, and almost drowned the loud
shriek that burst again from the wretched Clara de Haldimar.

"Stop, Mullins!--Stop, men!" shouted Captain de Haldimar, firmly, as
the excited boatswain, with two or three of his companions,--now
advanced with the intention of laying violent hands on the Indian. "I
will answer for his fidelity with my life. If he be false, it will be
time enough to punish him afterwards; but let us calmly await the issue
like men. Hear me," he proceeded, as he remarked their incredulous,
uncertain, and still threatening air;--"this Indian saved me from the
tomahawks of his tribe not a week ago; and, even now, he has become our
captive in the act of taking a note from me to the garrison, to warn
them of their danger. But for that slumbering fool," he added,
bitterly, pointing to Fuller, who slept when he should have watched,
"your fort would not now have been what it is,--a mass of smoking
ruins. He has an ocean of blood upon his soul, that all the waters of
the Huron can never wash out!"

Struck by the vehement manner of the officer, and the disclosure he had
just made, the sailors sunk once more into inaction and silence. The
boatswain alone spoke.

"I thought, your honour, as how Jack Fuller, who sartainly is a better
hand at a snooze than a watch, had got into a bit of a mess; but,
shiver my topsails, if I think it's quite fair to blame him, neither,
for clapping a stopper on the Indian's cable, seeing as how he was
expecting a shot between wind and water. Still, as the chap turns out
to be an honest chap, and has saved your honour's life above all, I
don't much care if I give him a grip. Here, old fellow, tip us your

Without seeming to understand that his cry had been productive of
general and intense alarm throughout the vessel, the Indian had viewed
the sudden rushing of the crew towards him as an act of gratuitous
hostility; and, without shrinking from the attack, had once more
resumed his original air of dogged sullenness. It was evident to him,
from the discussion going on, that some violence, about to be offered
to his person, had only been prevented by the interference of the
officer. With the natural haughtiness of his savage nature, he
therefore rejected the overtures of the sailor, whose hand he had
observed among the first that were raised against him.

While the angry boatswain was yet rolling his quid within his capacious
jaws, racking his brain for the strongest language wherein to give vent
to his indignation, his ears were suddenly saluted by a low but clear
"Hilloa!" from the bows of the schooner.

"Ay, ay!" was the brief response.

"There's something approaching us ahead, on the weather fore quarter,"
continued the same voice, which was that of the man on the look-out.

The most profound silence now pervaded the deck. Every individual,
including Captain de Haldimar and the boatswain, had flown to the
gangway of the quarter indicated, which was on the side occupied by the
couch of the unfortunate Clara. Presently a noise like that produced by
a single paddle rapidly dividing the water, was heard by every anxious
ear. Night had long since thrown her mantle over the surrounding waste;
and all that was to be seen reflected from the bosom of the gradually
darkening river, scarcely ruffled by the yet incipient breeze, were a
few straggling stars, that here and there appeared in the overcast
heavens. Hitherto no object could be discovered by those who strained
their eyes eagerly and painfully through the gloom, although the sounds
became at each moment more distinct. It was evident the party, guided
by the noise of the rippling waves that fell from the bows of the
schooner, was enabled to follow up a course, the direct clue to which
had been indicated by the cry of the captive. Every man stood near his
gun on the starboard battery, and the burning matches hanging over
their respective buckets ready to be seized at a moment's notice.
Still, but little room for apprehension existed; for the practised ear
of the mariners could easily tell that a solitary bark alone
approached; and of one, or even ten, they entertained no fear.
Suddenly, as the course of the vessel was now changed a point to
windward,--a movement that brought her bows more off the adjacent
shore,--the sound, in which all were more or less interested, was heard
not more than twenty yards off, and in a line with the gangway at which
the principal of the crew were assembled. In the next minute the low
hull of a canoe came in sight, and then a tall and solitary human
figure was seen in the stern, bending alternately to the right and to
the left, as the paddle was rapidly and successively changed from side
to side.

Another deep and exulting "Ugh!" was now heaved from the chest of the
Indian, who stood calmly on the spot on which he had first rested,
while Fuller prepared a coil of rope to throw to the active steersman.

"Avast there, Jack!" growled the boatswain, addressing the sailor; "how
can the stranger keep the bow of his craft on, and grapple at the same
time? Just pass one end of the coil round your waist, and swing
yourself gently into her."

The head of the canoe was now near enough for the purpose. The sailor
did as he was desired, having previously divested himself of his shoes,
and leaping forward, alighted on what appeared to be a bundle of
blankets stowed away in her bows. No sooner, however, had he secured
his footing, when with another desperate leap, and greatly to the
astonishment of all around, he bounded once more to the deck of the
schooner, his countenance exhibiting every mark of superstitious alarm.
In the act of quitting the canoe he had spurned her violently several
feet from the vessel, which the silent steersman was again making every
effort to reach.

"Why what the devil's the matter with you now?" exclaimed the rough
boatswain, who, as well as Captain de Haldimar and the rest of the
crew, had quitted the gangway to learn the cause of this extraordinary
conduct. "Damn my eyes, if you ar'n't worse scared than when the Ingian
stood over you in the jolly boat."

"Scared, ay, to be sure I am; and so would you be scared too, if you'd
a see'd what I did. May I never touch the point at Portsmouth, if I
a'n't seen her ghost."

"Where?--whose ghost?--what ghost?--what do you mean, Jack?" exclaimed
several of the startled men in the same breath, while the superstitious
dread so common to mariners drew them still closer in the group that
encircled their companion.

"Well, then, as I am a miserable sinner," returned the man,
impressively, and in a low tone, "I see'd in the bows of the
canoe,--and the hand that steered it was not made of flesh and blood
like ours,--what do you think?--the ghost of--"

Captain de Haldimar heard no more. At a single bound he had gained the
ship's side. He strained his eyes anxiously over the gangway in search
of the canoe, but it was gone. A death-like silence throughout the deck
followed the communication of the sailor, and in that pause the sound
of the receding boat could be heard, not urged, as it had approached,
by one paddle, but by two. The heart of the officer throbbed almost to
suffocation; and his firmness, hitherto supported by the manly energies
of his nature, now failed him quite. Heedless of appearances,
regardless of being overlooked, he tottered like a drunken man for
support against the mainmast. For a moment or two he leant his head
upon his hand, with the air of one immersed in the most profound
abstraction; while the crew, at once alarmed and touched by the deep
distress into which this mysterious circumstance had plunged him, stood
silently and respectfully watching his emotion. Suddenly he started
from his attitude of painful repose, like one awaking from a dream, and
demanded what had become of the Indian.

Every one looked around, but the captive was nowhere to be seen. Search
was made below, both in the cabin and in the fore decks, and men were
sent up aloft to see if he had secreted himself in the rigging; but all
returned, stating he was nowhere to be found. He had disappeared from
the vessel altogether, yet no one knew how; for he had not been
observed to stir from the spot on which he had first planted himself.
It was plain, however, he had joined the mysterious party in the canoe,
from the fact of the second paddle having been detected; and all
attempts at pursuit, without endangering the vessel on the shallows,
whither the course of the fugitives was now directed, was declared by
the boatswain utterly impracticable.

The announcement of the Indian's disappearance seemed to put the climax
to the despair of the unfortunate officer.--"Then is our every hope
lost!" he groaned aloud, as, quitting the centre of the vessel, he
slowly traversed the deck, and once more stood at the side of his no
less unhappy and excited sister. For a moment or two he remained with
his arms folded across his chest, gazing on the dark outline of her
form; and then, in a wild paroxysm of silent tearless grief, threw
himself suddenly on the edge of the couch, and clasping her in a long
close embrace to his audibly beating heart, lay like one bereft of all
sense and consciousness of surrounding objects.


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