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´╗┐Title: Wacousta : a tale of the Pontiac conspiracy (Complete)
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 One of Three


John Richardson


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


   Major Richardson, Montreal.

   November 26th, 1839.

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

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

   "I remain, dear sir your very faithful servant"

   "(Signed)   J. HARVEY. "

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


New York City, January 1st, 1851.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

In this he pursued a line of policy happily adapted to the delicate
nature of his position. Unwilling to excite the anger or wound the
pride of the chiefs, by any outward manifestation of distrust, he
affected to confide in the sincerity of their professions, and, by
inducing his officers to mix occasionally in their councils, and his
men in the amusements of the inferior warriors, contrived to impress
the conviction that he reposed altogether on their faith. But, although
these acts were in some degree coerced by the necessity of the times,
and a perfect knowledge of all the misery that must accrue to them in
the event of their provoking the Indians into acts of open hostility,
the prudent governor took such precautions as were deemed efficient to
defeat any treacherous attempt at violation of the tacit treaty on the
part of the natives. The officers never ventured out, unless escorted
by a portion of their men, who, although appearing to be dispersed
among the warriors, still kept sufficiently together to be enabled, in
a moment of emergency, to afford succour not only to each other but to
their superiors. On these occasions, as a further security against
surprise, the troops left within were instructed to be in readiness, at
a moment's warning, to render assistance, if necessary, to their
companions, who seldom, on any occasion, ventured out of reach of the
cannon of the fort, the gate of which was hermetically closed, while
numerous supernumerary sentinels were posted along the ramparts, with a
view to give the alarm if any thing extraordinary was observed to occur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Desire Major Blackwater to come to me immediately."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Ensign Fortescue," was the answer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"And Lieutenant Murphy--"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


      Captain and President.

   Sentence approved and confirmed.

      Colonel Commandant.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Hog Island, I suppose you mean."

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *




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.


      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *




Volume Three of Three


John Richardson


The night passed away without further event on board the schooner, yet
in all the anxiety that might be supposed incident to men so perilously
situated. Habits of long-since acquired superstition, too powerful to
be easily shaken off, moreover contributed to the dejection of the
mariners, among whom there were not wanting those who believed the
silent steersman was in reality what their comrade had represented,--an
immaterial being, sent from the world of spirits to warn them of some
impending evil. What principally gave weight to this impression were
the repeated asseverations of Fuller, during the sleepless night passed
by all on deck, that what he had seen was no other, could be no other,
than a ghost! exhibiting in its hueless, fleshless cheek, the
well-known lineaments of one who was supposed to be no more: and, if
the story of their comrade had needed confirmation among men in whom
faith in, rather than love for, the marvellous was a constitutional
ingredient, the terrible effect that seemed to have been produced on
Captain de Haldimar by the same mysterious visitation would have been
more than conclusive. The very appearance of the night, too, favoured
the delusion. The heavens, comparatively clear at the moment when the
canoe approached the vessel, became suddenly enveloped in the deepest
gloom at its departure, as if to enshroud the course of those who,
having so mysteriously approached, had also so unaccountably
disappeared. Nor had this threatening state of the atmosphere the
counterbalancing advantage of storm and tempest to drive them onward
through the narrow waters of the Sinclair, and enable them, by
anticipating the pursuit of their enemies, to shun the Scylla and
Charybdis that awaited their more leisure advance. The wind increased
not; and the disappointed seamen remarked, with dismay, that their
craft scarcely made more progress than at the moment when she first
quitted her anchorage.

It was now near the first hours of day; and although, perhaps, none
slept, there were few who were not apparently at rest, and plunged in
the most painful reflections. Still occupying her humble couch, and
shielded from the night air merely by the cloak that covered her own
blood-stained garments, lay the unhappy Clara, her deep groans and
stifled sobs bursting occasionally from her pent-up heart, and falling
on the ears of the mariners like sounds of fearful import, produced by
the mysterious agency that already bore such undivided power over their
thoughts. On the bare deck, at her side, lay her brother, his face
turned upon the planks, as if to shut out all objects from eyes he had
not the power to close; and, with one arm supporting his heavy brow,
while the other, cast around the restless form of his beloved sister,
seemed to offer protection and to impart confidence, even while his
lips denied the accents of consolation. Seated on an empty hen-coop at
their head, was Sir Everard Valletort, his back reposing against the
bulwarks of the vessel, his arms folded across his chest, and his eyes
bent mechanically on the man at the helm, who stood within a few paces
of him,--an attitude of absorption, which he, ever and anon, changed to
one of anxious and enquiring interest, whenever the agitation of Clara
was manifested in the manner already shown.

The main deck and forecastle of the vessel presented a similar picture
of mingled unquietness and repose. Many of the seamen might be seen
seated on the gun-carriages, with their cheeks pressing the rude metal
that served them for a pillow. Others lay along the decks, with their
heads resting on the elevated hatches; while not a few, squatted on
their haunches with their knees doubled up to their very chins,
supported in that position the aching head that rested between their
rough and horny palms. A first glance might have induced the belief
that all were buried in the most profound slumber; but the quick
jerking of a limb,--the fitful, sudden shifting of a position,--the
utter absence of that deep breathing which indicates the
unconsciousness of repose, and the occasional spirting of tobacco juice
upon the deck,--all these symptoms only required to be noticed, to
prove the living silence that reigned throughout was not born either of
apathy or sleep.

At the gangway at which the canoe had approached now stood the
individual already introduced to our readers as Jack Fuller. The same
superstitious terror that caused his flight had once more attracted him
to the spot where the subject of his alarm first appeared to him; and,
without seeming to reflect that the vessel, in her slow but certain
progress, had left all vestige of the mysterious visitant behind, he
continued gazing over the bulwarks on the dark waters, as if he
expected at each moment to find his sight stricken by the same
appalling vision. It was at the moment when he had worked up his
naturally dull imagination to its highest perception of the
supernatural, that he was joined by the rugged boatswain, who had
passed the greater part of the night in pacing up and down the decks,
watching the aspect of the heavens, and occasionally tauting a rope or
squaring a light yard, unassisted, as the fluttering of the canvass in
the wind rendered the alteration necessary.

"Well, Jack!" bluntly observed the latter in a gruff whisper that
resembled the suppressed growling of a mastiff, "what the hell are ye
thinking of now?--Not got over your flumbustification yet, that ye
stand here, looking as sanctified as an old parson!"

"I'll tell ye what it is, Mr. Mullins," returned the sailor, in the
same key; "you may make as much game on me as you like; but these here
strange sort of doings are somehow quizzical; and, though I fears
nothing in the shape of flesh and blood, still, when it comes to having
to do with those as is gone to Davy Jones's locker like, it gives a
fellow an all-overishness as isn't quite the thing. You understand me?"

"I'm damned if I do!" was the brief but energetic rejoinder.

"Well, then," continued Fuller, "if I must out with it, I must. I think
that 'ere Ingian must have been the devil, or how could he come so
sudden and unbeknownst upon me, with the head of a 'possum: and then,
agin, how could he get away from the craft without our seeing him? and
how came the ghost on board of the canoe?"

"Avast there, old fellow; you means not the head of a 'possum, but a
beaver: but that 'ere's all nat'r'l enough, and easily 'counted for;
but you hav'n't told us whose ghost it was, after all."

"No; the captain made such a spring to the gunwale, as frighted it all
out of my head: but come closer, Mr. Mullins, and I'll whisper it in
your ear.--Hark! what was that?"

"I hears nothing," said the boatswain, after a pause.

"It's very odd," continued Fuller; "but I thought as how I heard it
several times afore you came."

"There's something wrong, I take it, in your upper story, Jack Fuller,"
coolly observed his companion; "that 'ere ghost has quite capsized you."

"Hark, again!" repeated the sailor. "Didn't you hear it then? A sort of
a groan like."

"Where, in what part?" calmly demanded the boatswain, though in the
same suppressed tone in which the dialogue had been, carried on.

"Why, from the canoe that lies alongside there. I heard it several
times afore."

"Well, damn my eyes, if you a'rn't turned a real coward at last,"
politely remarked Mr. Mullins. "Can't the poor fat devil of a Canadian
snooze a bit in his hammock, without putting you so completely out of
your reckoning?"

"The Canadian--the Canadian!" hurriedly returned Fuller: "why, don't
you see him there, leaning with his back to the main-mast, and as fast
asleep as if the devil himself couldn't wake him?"

"Then it was the devil, you heard, if you like," quaintly retorted
Mullins: "but bear a hand, and tell us all about this here ghost."

"Hark, again! what was that?" once more enquired the excited sailor.

"Only a gust of wind passing through the dried boughs of the canoe,"
said the boatswain: "but since we can get nothing out of that crazed
noddle of yours, see if you can't do something with your hands. That
'ere canoe running alongside, takes half a knot off the ship's way.
Bear a hand then, and cast off the painter, and let her drop astarn,
that she may follow in our wake. Hilloa! what the hell's the matter
with the man now?"

And well might he ask. With his eyeballs staring, his teeth chattering,
his body half bent, and his arms thrown forward, yet pendent as if
suddenly arrested in that position while in the act of reaching the
rope, the terrified sailor stood gazing on the stern of the canoe; in
which, by the faint light of the dawning day, was to be seen an object
well calculated to fill the least superstitious heart with terror and
dismay. Through an opening in the foliage peered the pale and spectral
face of a human being, with its dull eyes bent fixedly and mechanically
upon the vessel. In the centre of the wan forehead was a dark
incrustation, as of blood covering the superficies of a newly closed
wound. The pallid mouth was partially unclosed, so as to display a row
of white and apparently lipless teeth; and the features were otherwise
set and drawn, as those of one who is no longer of earth. Around the
head was bound a covering so close, as to conceal every part save the
face; and once or twice a hand was slowly raised, and pressed upon the
blood spot that dimmed the passing fairness of the brow. Every other
portion of the form was invisible.

"Lord have mercy upon us!" exclaimed the boatswain, in a voice that,
now elevated to more than its natural tone, sounded startlingly on the
stillness of the scene; "sure enough it is, indeed, a ghost!"

"Ha! do you believe me now?" returned Fuller, gaining confidence from
the admission of his companion, and in the same elevated key. "It is,
as I hope to be saved, the ghost I see'd afore."

The commotion on deck was now every where universal. The sailors
started to their feet, and, with horror and alarm visibly imprinted on
their countenances, rushed tumultuously towards the dreaded gangway.

"Make way--room, fellows!" exclaimed a hurried voice; and presently
Captain de Haldimar, who had bounded like lightning from the deck,
appeared with eager eye and excited cheek among them. To leap into the
bows of the canoe, and disappear under the foliage, was the work of a
single instant. All listened breathlessly for the slightest sound; and
then every heart throbbed with the most undefinable emotions, as his
lips were heard giving utterance to the deep emotion of his own

"Madeline, oh, my own lost Madeline!" he exclaimed with almost frantic
energy of passion: "do I then press you once more in madness to my
doting heart? Speak, speak to me--for God's sake speak, or I shall go
mad! Air, air,--she wants air only--she cannot be dead."

These last words were succeeded by the furious rending asunder of the
fastenings that secured the boughs, and presently the whole went
overboard, leaving revealed the tall and picturesque figure of the
officer; whose left arm encircled while it supported the reclining and
powerless form of one who well resembled, indeed, the spectre for which
she had been mistaken, while his right hand was busied in detaching the
string that secured a portion of the covering round her throat. At
length it fell from her shoulders; and the well known form of Madeline
de Haldimar, clad even in the vestments in which they had been wont to
see her, met the astonished gaze of the excited seamen. Still there
were some who doubted it was the corporeal woman whom they beheld; and
several of the crew who were catholics even made the sign of the cross
as the supposed spirit was now borne up the gangway in the arms of the
pained yet gratified De Haldimar: nor was it until her feet were seen
finally resting on the deck, that Jack Fuller could persuade himself it
was indeed Miss de Haldimar, and not her ghost, that lay clasped to the
heart of the officer.

With the keen rush of the morning air upon her brow returned the
suspended consciousness of the bewildered Madeline. The blood came
slowly and imperceptibly to her cheek; and her eyes, hitherto glazed,
fixed, and inexpressive, looked enquiringly, yet with stupid
wonderment, around. She started from the embrace of her lover, gazed
alternately at his disguise, at himself, and at Clara; and then passing
her hand several times rapidly across her brow, uttered an hysteric
scream, and threw herself impetuously forward on the bosom of the
sobbing girl; who, with extended arms, parted lips, and heaving bosom,
sat breathlessly awaiting the first dawn of the returning reason of her
more than sister.

We should vainly attempt to paint all the heart-rending misery of the
scene exhibited in the gradual restoration of Miss de Haldimar to her
senses. From a state of torpor, produced by the freezing of every
faculty into almost idiocy, she was suddenly awakened to all the
terrors of the past and the deep intonations of her rich voice were
heard only in expressions of agony, that entered into the most
iron-hearted of the assembled seamen; while they drew from the bosom of
her gentle and sympathising cousin fresh bursts of desolating grief.
Imagination itself would find difficulty in supplying the harrowing
effect upon all, when, with upraised hands, and on her bended knees,
her large eyes turned wildly up to heaven, she invoked in deep and
startling accents the terrible retribution of a just God on the inhuman
murderers of her father, with whose life-blood her garments were
profusely saturated; and then, with hysteric laughter, demanded why she
alone had been singled out to survive the bloody tragedy. Love and
affection, hitherto the first principles of her existence, then found
no entrance into her mind. Stricken, broken-hearted, stultified to all
feeling save that of her immediate wretchedness, she thought only of
the horrible scenes through which she had passed; and even he, whom at
another moment she could have clasped in an agony of fond tenderness to
her beating bosom,--he to whom she had pledged her virgin faith, and
was bound by the dearest of human ties,--he whom she had so often
longed to behold once more, and had thought of, the preceding day, with
all the tenderness of her impassioned and devoted soul,--even he did
not, in the first hours of her terrible consciousness, so much as
command a single passing regard. All the affections were for a period
blighted in her bosom. She seemed as one devoted, without the power of
resistance, to a grief which calcined and preyed upon all other
feelings of the mind. One stunning and annihilating reflection seemed
to engross every principle of her being; nor was it for hours after she
had been restored to life and recollection that a deluge of burning
tears, giving relief to her heart and a new direction to her feelings,
enabled her at length to separate the past from, and in some degree
devote herself to, the present. Then, indeed, for the first time did
she perceive and take pleasure in the presence of her lover; and
clasping her beloved and weeping Clara to her heart, thank her God, in
all the fervour of true piety, that she at least had been spared to
shed a ray of comfort on her distracted spirit. But we will not pain
the reader by dwelling on a scene that drew tears even from the rugged
and flint-nerved boatswain himself; for, although we should linger on
it with minute anatomical detail, no powers of language we possess
could convey the transcript as it should be. Pass we on, therefore, to
the more immediate incidents of our narrative.

The day now rapidly developing, full opportunity was afforded the
mariners to survey the strict nature of their position. To all
appearance they were yet in the middle of the lake, for around them lay
the belting sweep of forest that bounded the perspective of the
equidistant circle, of which their bark was the focus or immediate
centre. The wind was dying gradually away, and when at length the sun
rose, in all his splendour, there was scarce air enough in the heavens
to keep the sails from flapping against the masts, or to enable the
vessel to obey her helm. In vain was the low and peculiar whistle of
the seamen heard, ever and anon, in invocation of the departing breeze.
Another day, calm and breathless as the preceding, had been chartered
from the world of light; and their hearts failed them, as they foresaw
the difficulty of their position, and the almost certainty of their
retreat being cut off. It was while labouring under the disheartening
consciousness of danger, peculiar to all, that the anxious boatswain
summoned Captain de Haldimar and Sir Everard Valletort, by a
significant beck of the finger, to the side of the deck opposite to
that on which still lay the suffering and nearly broken-hearted girls.

"Well, Mullins, what now?" enquired the former, as he narrowly scanned
the expression of the old man's features: "that clouded brow of yours,
I fear me, bodes no agreeable information."

"Why, your honour, I scarcely knows what to say about it; but seeing as
I'm the only officer in the ship, now our poor captain is killed, God
bless him! I thought I might take the liberty to consult with your
honours as to the best way of getting out of the jaws of them sharks of
Ingians; and two heads, as the saying is, is always better than one."

"And now you have the advantage of three," observed the officer, with a
sickly smile; "but I fear, Mullins, that if your own be not sufficient
for the purpose, ours will be of little service. You must take counsel
from your own experience and knowledge of nautical matters."

"Why, to be sure, your honour," and the sailor rolled his quid from one
cheek to the other, "I think I may say as how I'll venture to steer the
craft with any man on the Canada lakes, and bring her safe into port
too; but seeing as how I'm only a petty officer, and not yet
recommended by his worship the governor for the full command, I thought
it but right to consult with my superiors, not as to the management of
the craft, but the best as is to be done. What does your honour think
of making for the high land over the larboard bow yonder, and waiting
for the chance of the night-breeze to take us through the Sinclair?"

"Do whatever you think best," returned the officer. "For my part, I
scarcely can give an opinion. Yet how are we to get there? There does
not appear to be a breath of wind."

"Oh, that's easily managed; we have only to brail and furl up a little,
to hide our cloth from the Ingians, and then send the boats a-head to
tow the craft, while some of us lend a hand at her own sweeps. We shall
get close under the lee of the land afore night, and then we must pull
up agin along shore, until we get within a mile or so of the head of
the river."

"But shall we not be seen by our enemies?" asked Sir Everard; "and will
they not be on the watch for our movements, and intercept our retreat?"

"Now that's just the thing, your honour, as they're not likely to do,
if so be as we bears away for yon headlands. I knows every nook and
sounding round the lake; and odd enough if I didn't, seeing as how the
craft circumnavigated it, at least, a dozen times since we have been
cooped up here. Poor Captain Danvers! (may the devil damn his
murderers, I say, though it does make a commander of me for once;) he
used always to make for that 'ere point, whenever he wished to lie
quiet; for never once did we see so much as a single Ingian on the
headland. No, your honour, they keeps all at t'other side of the lake,
seeing as how that is the main road from Mackina' to Detroit."

"Then, by all means, do so," eagerly returned Captain de Haldimar. "Oh,
Mullins! take us but safely through, and if the interest of my father
can procure you a king's commission, you shall not want it, believe me."

"And if half my fortune can give additional stimulus to exertion, it
shall be shared, with pleasure, between yourself and crew," observed
Sir Everard.

"Thank your honours,--thank your honours," said the boatswain, somewhat
electrified by these brilliant offers. "The lads may take the money, if
they like; all I cares about is the king's commission. Give me but a
swab on my shoulder, and the money will come fast enough of itself.
But, still, shiver my topsails, if I wants any bribery to make me do my
duty; besides, if 'twas only for them poor girls alone, I would go
through fire and water to sarve them. I'm not very chicken-hearted in
my old age, your honours, but I don't recollect the time when I
blubbered so much as I did when Miss Madeline come aboard. But I can't
bear to think of it; and now let us see and get all ready for towing."

Every thing now became bustle and activity on board the schooner. The
matches, no longer required for the moment, were extinguished, and the
heavy cutlasses and pistols unbuckled from the loins of the men, and
deposited near their respective guns. Light forms flew aloft, and,
standing out upon the yards, loosely furled the sails that had
previously been hauled and clewed up; but, as this was an operation
requiring little time in so small a vessel, those who were engaged in
it speedily glided to the deck again, ready for a more arduous service.
The boats had, meanwhile, been got forward, and into these the sailors
sprang, with an alacrity that could scarcely have been expected from
men who had passed not only the preceding night, but many before it, in
utter sleeplessness and despair. But the imminence of the danger, and
the evident necessity existing for exertion, aroused them to new
energy; and the hitherto motionless vessel was now made to obey the
impulse given by the tow ropes of the boats, in a manner that proved
their crews to have entered on their toil with the determination of
men, resolved to devote themselves in earnest to their task. Nor was
the spirit of action confined to these. The long sweeps of the schooner
had been shipped, and such of the crew as remained on board laboured
effectually at them,--a service, in which they were essentially aided,
not only by mine host of the Fleur de lis, but by the young officers

At mid-day the headlands were seen looming largely in the distance,
while the immediate shores of the ill-fated fortress were momentarily,
and in the same proportion, disappearing under the dim line of horizon
in the rear. More than half their course, from the spot whence they
commenced towing, had been completed, when the harassed men were made
to quit their oars, in order to partake of the scanty fare of the
vessel, consisting chiefly of dried bear's meat and venison. Spirit of
any description they had none; but, unlike their brethren of the
Atlantic, when driven to extremities in food, they knew not what it was
to poison the nutritious properties of the latter by sipping the putrid
dregs of the water-cask, in quantities scarce sufficient to quench the
fire of their parched palates. Unslaked thirst was a misery unknown to
the mariners of these lakes: it was but to cast their buckets deep into
the tempting element, and water, pure, sweet, and grateful as any that
ever bubbled from the moss-clad fountain of sylvan deity, came cool and
refreshing to their lips, neutralising, in a measure, the crudities of
the coarsest food. It was to this inestimable advantage the crew of the
schooner had been principally indebted for their health, during the
long series of privation, as far as related to fresh provisions and
rest, to which they had been subjected. All appeared as vigorous in
frame, and robust in health, as at the moment when they had last
quitted the waters of the Detroit; and but for the inward sinking of
the spirit, reflected in many a bronzed and furrowed brow, there was
little to show they had been exposed to any very extraordinary trials.

Their meal having been hastily dispatched, and sweetened by a draught
from the depths of the Huron, the seamen once more sprang into their
boats, and devoted themselves, heart and soul, to the completion of
their task, pulling with a vigour that operated on each and all with a
tendency to encouragement and hope. At length the vessel, still
impelled by her own sweeps, gradually approached the land; and at
rather more than an hour before sunset was so near that the moment was
deemed arrived when, without danger of being perceived, she might be
run up along the shore to the point alluded to by the boatswain. Little
more than another hour was occupied in bringing her to her station; and
the red tints of departing day were still visible in the direction of
the ill-fated fortress of Michilimackinac, when the sullen rumbling of
the cable, following the heavy splash of the anchor, announced the
place of momentary concealment had been gained.

The anchorage lay between two projecting headlands; to the outermost
extremities of which were to be seen, overhanging the lake, the stately
birch and pine, connected at their base by an impenetrable brushwood,
extending to the very shore, and affording the amplest concealment,
except from the lake side and the banks under which the schooner was
moored. From the first quarter, however, little danger was incurred, as
any canoes the savages might send in discovery of their course, must
unavoidably be seen the moment they appeared over the line of the
horizon, while, on the contrary, their own vessel, although much
larger, resting on and identified with the land, must be invisible,
except on a very near approach. In the opposite direction they were
equally safe; for, as Mullins had truly remarked, none, save a few
wandering hunters, whom chance occasionally led to the spot, were to be
met with in a part of the country that lay so completely out of the
track of communication between the fortresses. It was, however, but to
double the second headland in their front, and they came within view of
the Sinclair, the head of which was situated little more than a league
beyond the spot where they now lay. Thus secure for the present, and
waiting only for the rising of the breeze, of which the setting sun had
given promise, the sailors once more snatched their hasty refreshment,
while two of their number were sent aloft to keep a vigilant look-out
along the circuit embraced by the enshrouding headlands.

During the whole of the day the cousins had continued on deck clasped
in each other's arms, and shedding tears of bitterness, and heaving the
most heart-rending sobs at intervals, yet but rarely conversing. The
feelings of both were too much oppressed to admit of the utterance of
their grief. The vampire of despair had banqueted on their hearts.
Their vitality had been sucked, as it were, by its cold and bloodless
lips; and little more than the withered rind, that had contained the
seeds of so many affections, had been left. Often had Sir Everard and
De Haldimar paused momentarily from the labour of their oars, to cast
an eye of anxious solicitude on the scarcely conscious girls, wishing,
rather than expecting, to find the violence of their desolation abated,
and that, in the full expansion of unreserved communication, they were
relieving their sick hearts from the terrible and crushing weight of
woe that bore them down. Captain de Haldimar had even once or twice
essayed to introduce the subject himself, in the hope that some fresh
paroxysm, following their disclosures, would remove the horrible
stupefaction of their senses; but the wild look and excited manner of
Madeline, whenever he touched on the chord of her affliction, had as
often caused him to desist.

Towards the evening, however, her natural strength of character came in
aid of his quiescent efforts to soothe her; and she appeared not only
more composed, but more sensible of the impression produced by
surrounding objects. As the last rays of the sun were tinging the
horizon, she drew up her form in a sitting position against the
bulwarks, and, raising her clasped hands to heaven, while her eyes were
bent long and fixedly on the distant west, appeared for some minutes
wholly lost in that attitude of absorption. Then she closed her eyes;
and through the swollen lids came coursing, one by one, over her
quivering cheek, large tears, that seemed to scald a furrow where they
passed. After this she became more calm--her respiration more free; and
she even consented to taste the humble meal which the young man now
offered for the third time. Neither Clara nor herself had eaten food
since the preceding morning; and the weakness of their frames
contributed not a little to the increasing despondency of their
spirits; but, notwithstanding several attempts previously made, they
had rejected what was offered them, with insurmountable loathing. When
they had now swallowed a few morsels of the sliced venison ham,
prepared with all the delicacy the nearly exhausted resources of the
vessel could supply, accompanied by a small portion of the cornbread of
the Canadian, Captain de Haldimar prevailed on them to swallow a few
drops of the spirit that still remained in the canteen given them by
Erskine on their departure from Detroit. The genial liquid sent a
kindling glow to their chilled hearts, and for a moment deadened the
pungency of their anguish; and then it was that Miss de Haldimar
entered briefly on the horrors she had witnessed, while Clara, with her
arm encircling her waist, fixed her dim and swollen eyes, from which a
tear ever and anon rolled heavily to her lap, on those of her beloved


Without borrowing the affecting language of the unhappy girl--a
language rendered even more touching by the peculiar pathos of her
tones, and the searching agony of spirit that burst at intervals
through her narrative--we will merely present our readers with a brief
summary of what was gleaned from her melancholy disclosure. On bearing
her cousin to the bedroom, after the terrifying yell first heard from
without the fort, she had flown down the front stairs of the
blockhouse, in the hope of reaching the guardroom in time to acquaint
Captain Baynton with what she and Clara had witnessed from their
window. Scarcely, however, had she gained the exterior of the building,
when she saw that officer descending from a point of the rampart
immediately on her left, and almost in a line with the block-house. He
was running to overtake and return the ball of the Indian players,
which had, at that moment, fallen into the centre of the fort, and was
now rolling rapidly away from the spot on which Miss de Haldimar stood.
The course of the ball led the pursuing officer out of the reach of her
voice; and it was not until he had overtaken and thrown it again over
the rampart, she could succeed in claiming his attention. No sooner,
however, had he heard her hurried statement, than, without waiting to
take the orders of his commanding officer, he prepared to join his
guard, and give directions for the immediate closing of the gates. But
the opportunity was now lost. The delay occasioned by the chase and
recovery of the ball had given the Indians time to approach the gates
in a body, while the unsuspicious soldiery looked on without so much as
dreaming to prevent them; and Captain Baynton had scarcely moved
forward in execution of his purpose, when the yelling fiends were seen
already possessing themselves of the drawbridge, and exhibiting every
appearance of fierce hostility. Wild, maddened at the sight, the almost
frantic Madeline, alive only to her father's danger, rushed back
towards the council-room, whence the startling yell from without had
already been echoed, and where the tramp of feet, and the clashing of
weapons, were distinguishable.

Cut off from his guard, by the rapid inundation of warriors, Captain
Baynton had at once seen the futility of all attempts to join the men,
and his first impression evidently had been to devote himself to the
preservation of the cousins. With this view he turned hastily to Miss
de Haldimar, and hurriedly naming the back staircase of the
block-house, urged her to direct her flight to that quarter. But the
excited girl had neither consideration nor fear for herself; she
thought only of her father: and, even while the fierceness of contest
was at its height within, she suddenly burst into the council-room. The
confusion and horror of the scene that met her eyes no language can
render: blood was flowing in every direction, and dying and dead
officers, already stripped of their scalps, were lying strewed about
the room. Still the survivors fought with all the obstinacy of despair,
and many of the Indians had shared the fate of their victims. Miss de
Haldimar attempted to reach her father, then vigorously combating with
one of the most desperate of the chiefs; but, before she could dart
through the intervening crowd, a savage seized her by the hair, and
brandished a tomahawk rapidly over her neck. At that moment Captain
Baynton sent his glittering blade deep into the heart of the Indian,
who, relinquishing his grasp, fell dead at the feet of his intended
victim. The devoted officer then threw his left arm round her waist,
and, parrying with his sword-arm the blows of those who sought to
intercept his flight, dragged his reluctant burden towards the door.
Hotly pressed by the remaining officers, nearly equal in number, the
Indians were now compelled to turn and defend themselves in front, when
Captain Baynton took that opportunity of getting once more into the
corridor, not, however, without having received a severe wound
immediately behind the right ear, and leaving a skirt and lappel of his
uniform in the hands of two savages who had successively essayed to
detain him. At that moment the band without had succeeded in forcing
open the door of the guard-room; and the officer saw, at a glance,
there was little time left for decision. In hurried and imploring
accents he besought Miss de Haldimar to forget every thing but her own
danger, and to summon resolution to tear herself from the scene: but
prayer and entreaty, and even force, were alike employed in vain.
Clinging firmly to the rude balustrades, she refused to be led up the
staircase, and wildly resisting all his efforts to detach her hands,
declared she would again return to the scene of death, in which her
beloved parent was so conspicuous an actor. While he was yet engaged in
this fruitless attempt to force her from the spot, the door of the
council-room was suddenly burst open, and a group of bleeding officers,
among whom was Major de Haldimar, followed by their yelling enemies,
rushed wildly into the passage, and, at the very foot of the stairs
where they yet stood, the combat was renewed. From that moment Miss de
Haldimar lost sight of her generous protector. Meanwhile the tumult of
execrations, and groans, and yells, was at its height; and one by one
she saw the unhappy officers sink beneath weapons yet reeking with the
blood of their comrades, until not more than three or four, including
her father and the commander of the schooner, were left. At length
Major de Haldimar, overcome by exertion, and faint from wounds, while
his wild eye darted despairingly on his daughter, had his sword-arm
desperately wounded, when the blade dropped to the earth, and a dozen
weapons glittered above his head. The wild shriek that had startled
Clara then burst from the agonised heart of her maddened cousin, and
she darted forward to cover her father's head with her arms. But her
senses failed her in the attempt; and the last thing she recollected
was falling over the weltering form of Middleton, who pressed her, as
she lay there, in the convulsive energy of death, to his almost
pulseless heart.

A vague consciousness of being raised from the earth, and borne rapidly
through the air, came over her even in the midst of her insensibility,
but without any definite perception of the present, or recollection of
the past, until she suddenly, when about midway between the fort and
the point of wood that led to Chabouiga, opened her eyes, and found
herself in the firm grasp of an Indian, whose features, even in the
hasty and fearful glance she cast at the countenance, she fancied were
not unfamiliar to her. Not another human being was to be seen in the
clearing at that moment; for all the savages, including even the women
assembled outside, were now within the fort assisting in the complex
horrors of murder, fire, and spoliation. In the wild energy of
returning reason and despair, the wretched girl struggled violently to
free herself; and so far with success, that the Indian, whose strength
was evidently fast failing him, was compelled to quit his hold, and
suffer her to walk. No sooner did Miss de Haldimar feel her feet
touching the ground, when she again renewed her exertions to free
herself, and return to the fort; but the Indian held her firmly secured
by a leathern thong he now attached to her waist, and every attempt
proved abortive. He was evidently much disconcerted at her resistance;
and more than once she expected, and almost hoped, the tomahawk at his
side would be made to revenge him for the test to which his patience
was subjected; but Miss de Haldimar looked in vain for the expression
of ferocity and impatience that might have been expected from him at
such a moment. There was an air of mournfulness, and even kindness,
mingled with severity, on his smooth brow that harmonised ill with the
horrible atrocities in which he had, to all appearance, covered as he
was with blood, been so recent and prominent an actor. The Indian
remarked her surprise; and then looking hurriedly, yet keenly, around,
and finding no living being near them, suddenly tore the shirt from his
chest, and emphatically pronouncing the names "Oucanasta," "De
Haldimar," disclosed to the still struggling captive the bosom of a
woman. After which, pointing in the direction of the wood, and finally
towards Detroit, she gave Miss de Haldimar to understand that was the
course intended to be pursued.

In a moment the resistance of the latter ceased. She at once recognised
the young Indian woman whom her cousin had rescued from death: and
aware, as she was, of the strong attachment that had subsequently bound
her to her preserver, she was at no loss to understand how she might
have been led to devote herself to the rescue of one whom, it was
probable, she knew to be his affianced wife. Once, indeed, a suspicion
of a different nature crossed her mind; for the thought occurred to her
she had only been saved from the general doom to be made the victim of
private revenge--that it was only to glut the jealous vengeance of the
woman at a more deliberative hour, she had been made a temporary
captive. The apprehension, however, was no sooner formed than
extinguished. Bitterly, deeply as she had reason to abhor the treachery
and cunning of the dark race to which her captor belonged, there was an
expression of openness and sincerity, and even imploringness, in the
countenance of Oucanasta, which, added to her former knowledge of the
woman, at once set this fear at rest, inducing her to look upon her
rather in the character of a disinterested saviour, than in that of a
cruel and vindictive enemy, goaded on to the indulgence of malignant
hate by a spirit of rivalry and revenge. Besides, even were her
cruellest fears to be realised, what could await her worse than the
past? If she could even succeed in getting away, it would only be to
return upon certain death; and death only could await her, however
refined the tortures accompanying its infliction, in the event of her
quietly following and yielding herself up to the guidance of one who
offered this slight consolation, at least, that she was of her own sex.
But Miss de Haldimar was willing to attribute more generous motives to
the Indian; and fortified in her first impression, she signified by
signs, that seemed to be perfectly intelligible to her companion, she
appreciated her friendly intentions, and confided wholly in her.

No longer checked in her efforts, Oucanasta now directed her course
towards the wood, still holding the thong that remained attached to
Miss de Haldimar's waist, probably with a view to deceive any
individuals from the villages on whom they might chance to fall, into a
belief that the English girl was in reality her prisoner. No sooner,
however, had they entered the depths of the forest, when, instead of
following the path that led to Chabouiga, Oucanasta took a direction to
the left, and then moving nearly on a parallel line with the course of
the lake, continued her flight as rapidly as the rude nature of the
underwood, and the unpractised feet of her companion, would permit.
They had travelled in this manner for upwards of four hours, without
meeting a breathing thing, or even so much as exchanging a sound
between themselves, when, at length, the Indian stopped at the edge of
a deep cavern-like excavation in the earth, produced by the tearing up,
by the wild tempest, of an enormous pine. Into this she descended, and
presently reappeared with several blankets, and two light painted
paddles. Then unloosing the thong from the waist of the exhausted girl,
she proceeded to disguise her in one of the blankets in the manner
already shown, securing it over the head, throat, and shoulders with
the badge of captivity, now no longer necessary for her purpose. She
then struck off at right angles from the course they had previously
pursued; and in less than twenty minutes both stood on the lake shore,
apparently at a great distance from the point whence they had
originally set out. The Indian gazed for a moment anxiously before her;
and then, with an exclamation, evidently meant to convey a sense of
pleasure and satisfaction, pointed forward upon the lake. Miss de
Haldimar followed, with eager and aching eyes, the direction of her
finger, and beheld the well-known schooner evidently urging her flight
towards the entrance of the Sinclair. Oh, how her sick heart seemed
ready to burst at that moment! When she had last gazed upon it was from
the window of her favourite apartment; and even while she held her
beloved Clara clasped fondly in her almost maternal embrace, she had
dared to indulge the fairest images that ever sprung into being at the
creative call of woman's fancy. How bitter had been the reverse! and
what incidents to fill up the sad volume of the longest life of sorrow
and bereavement had not Heaven awarded her in lieu! In one short hour
the weight of a thousand worlds had fallen on and crushed her heart;
and when and how was the panacea to be obtained to restore one moment's
cessation from suffering to her agonised spirit? Alas! she felt at that
moment, that, although she should live a thousand years, the bitterness
and desolation of her grief must remain. From the vessel she turned her
eyes away upon the distant shore, which it was fast quitting, and
beheld a column of mingled flame and smoke towering far above the
horizon, and attesting the universal wreck of what had so long been
endeared to her as her home. And she had witnessed all this, and yet
had strength to survive it!

The courage of the unhappy girl had hitherto been sustained by no
effort of volition of her own. From the moment when, discovering a
friend in Oucanasta, she had yielded herself unresistingly to the
guidance of that generous creature, her feelings had been characterised
by an obtuseness strongly in contrast with the high excitement that had
distinguished her previous manner. A dreamy recollection of some past
horror, it is true, pursued her during her rapid and speechless flight;
but any analysis of the causes conducing to that horror, her subjugated
faculties were unable to enter upon. Even as one who, under the
influence of incipient slumber, rejects the fantastic images that rise
successively and indistinctly to the slothful brain, until, at length,
they weaken, fade, and gradually die away, leaving nothing but a
formless and confused picture of the whole; so was it with Miss de
Haldimar. Had she been throughout alive to the keen recollections
associated with her flight, she could not have stirred a foot in
furtherance of her own safety, even if she would. The mere instinct of
self-preservation would never have won one so truly devoted to the
generous purpose of her deliverer, had not the temporary stupefaction
of her mind prevented all desire of opposition. It is true, in the
moment of her discovery of the sex of Oucanasta, she had been able to
exercise her reflecting powers; but they were only in connection with
the present, and wholly abstract and separate from the past. She had
followed her conductor almost without consciousness, and with such deep
absorption of spirit, that she neither once conjectured whither they
were going, nor what was to be the final issue of their flight. But
now, when she stood on the lake shore, suddenly awakened, as if by some
startling spell, to every harrowing recollection, and with her
attention assisted by objects long endeared, and rendered familiar to
her gaze--when she beheld the vessel that had last borne her across the
still bosom of the Huron, fleeing for ever from the fortress where her
arrival had been so joyously hailed--when she saw that fortress itself
presenting the hideous spectacle of a blackened mass of ruins fast
crumbling into nothingness--when, in short, she saw nothing but what
reminded her of the terrific past, the madness of reason returned, and
the desolation of her heart was complete. And then, again, when she
thought of her generous, her brave, her beloved, and too unfortunate
father, whom she had seen perish at her feet--when she thought of her
own gentle Clara, and the sufferings and brutalities to which, if she
yet lived, she must inevitably be exposed, and of the dreadful fate of
the garrison altogether, the most menial of whom was familiar to her
memory, brought up, as she had been, among them from her
childhood--when she dwelt on all these things, a faintness, as of
death, came over her, and she sank without life on the beach. Of what
passed afterwards she had no recollection. She neither knew how she had
got into the canoe, nor what means the Indian had taken to secure her
approach to the schooner. She had no consciousness of having been
removed to the bark of the Canadian, nor did she even remember having
risen and gazed through the foliage on the vessel at her side; but she
presumed, the chill air of morning having partially restored pulsation,
she had moved instinctively from her recumbent position to the spot in
which her spectre-like countenance had been perceived by Fuller. The
first moment of her returning reason was that when, standing on the
deck of the schooner, she found herself so unexpectedly clasped to the
heart of her lover.

Twilight had entirely passed away when Miss de Haldimar completed her
sad narrative; and already the crew, roused to exertion by the swelling
breeze, were once more engaged in weighing the anchor, and setting and
trimming the sails of the schooner, which latter soon began to shoot
round the concealing headland into the opening of the Sinclair. A
deathlike silence prevailed throughout the decks of the little bark, as
her bows, dividing the waters of the basin that formed its source,
gradually immerged into the current of that deep but narrow river; so
narrow, indeed, that from its centre the least active of the mariners
might have leaped without difficulty to either shore. This was the most
critical part of the dangerous navigation. With a wide sea-board, and
full command of their helm, they had nothing to fear; but so limited
was the passage of this river, it was with difficulty the yards and
masts of the schooner could be kept disengaged from the projecting
boughs of the dense forest that lined the adjacent shores to their very
junction with the water. The darkness of the night, moreover, while it
promised to shield them from the observation of the savages,
contributed greatly to perplex their movements; for such was the
abruptness with which the river wound itself round in various
directions, that it required a man constantly on the alert at the bows
to apprise the helmsman of the course he should steer, to avoid
collision with the shores. Canopies of weaving branches met in various
directions far above their heads, and through these the schooner glided
with a silence that might have called up the idea of a Stygian freight.
Meanwhile, the men stood anxiously to their guns, concealing the
matches in their water-buckets as before; and, while they strained both
ear and eye through the surrounding; gloom to discover the slightest
evidence of danger, grasped the handles of their cutlasses with a firm
hand, ready to unsheathe them at the first intimation of alarm.

At the suggestion of the boatswain, who hinted at the necessity of
having cleared decks, Captain de Haldimar had prevailed on his
unfortunate relatives to retire to the small cabin arranged for their
reception; and here they were attended by an aged female, who had long
followed the fortunes of the crew, and acted in the twofold character
of laundress and sempstress. He himself, with Sir Everard, continued on
deck watching the progress of the vessel with an anxiety that became
more intense at each succeeding hour. Hitherto their course had been
unimpeded, save by the obstacles already enumerated; and they had now,
at about an hour before dawn, gained a point that promised a speedy
termination to their dangers and perplexities. Before them lay a reach
in the river, enveloped in more than ordinary gloom, produced by the
continuous weaving of the tops of the overhanging trees; and in the
perspective, a gleam of relieving light, denoting the near vicinity of
the lake that lay at the opposite extremity of the Sinclair, whose name
it also bore. This was the narrowest part of the river; and so
approximate were its shores, that the vessel in her course could not
fail to come in contact both with the obtruding foliage of the forest
and the dense bullrushes skirting the edge of either bank.

"If we get safe through this here place," said the boatswain, in a
rough whisper to his anxious and attentive auditors, "I think as how
I'll venture to answer for the craft. I can see daylight dancing upon
the lake already. Ten minutes more and she will be there." Then turning
to the man at the helm,--"Keep her in the centre of the stream, Jim.
Don't you see you're hugging the weather shore?"

"It would take the devil himself to tell which is the centre," growled
the sailor, in the same suppressed tone. "One might steer with one's
eyes shut in such a queer place as this and never be no worser off than
with them open."

"Steady her helm, steady," rejoined Mullins, "it's as dark as pitch, to
be sure, but the passage is straight as an arrow, and with a steady
helm you can't miss it. Make for the light ahead."

"Abaft there!" hurriedly and loudly shouted the man on the look-out at
the bows, "there's a tree lying across the river, and we're just upon

While he yet spoke, and before the boatswain could give such
instructions as the emergency required, the vessel suddenly struck
against the obstacle in question; but the concussion was not of the
violent nature that might have been anticipated. The course of the
schooner, at no one period particularly rapid, had been considerably
checked since her entrance into the gloomy arch, in the centre of which
her present accident had occurred; so that it was without immediate
injury to her hull and spars she had been thus suddenly brought to. But
this was not the most alarming part of the affair. Captain de Haldimar
and Sir Everard both recollected, that, in making the same passage, not
forty-eight hours previously, they had encountered no obstacle of the
kind, and a misgiving of danger rose simultaneously to the hearts of
each. It was, however, a thing of too common occurrence in these
countries, where storm and tempest were so prevalent and partial, to
create more than a mere temporary alarm; for it was quite as probable
the barrier had been interposed by some fitful outburst of Nature, as
that it arose from design on the part of their enemies: and when the
vessel had continued stationary for some minutes, without the prepared
and expectant crew discovering the slightest indication of attack, the
former impression was preserved by the officers--at least avowedly to
those around.

"Bear a hand, my lads, and cut away," at length ordered the boatswain,
in a low but clear tone; "half a dozen at each end of the stick, and we
shall soon clear a passage for the craft."

A dozen sailors grasped their axes, and hastened forward to execute the
command. They sprang lightly from the entangled bows of the schooner,
and diverging in equal numbers moved to either extremity of the fallen

"This is sailing through the heart of the American forest with a
vengeance," muttered Mullins, whose annoyance at their detention was
strongly manifested as he paced up and down the deck. "Shiver my
topsails, if it isn't bad enough to clear the Sinclair at any time,
much more so when one's running for one's life, and not a whisper's
length from one's enemies. Do you know, Captain," abruptly checking his
movement, and familiarly placing his hand on the shoulder of De
Haldimar, "the last time we sailed through this very reach I couldn't
help telling poor Captain Danvers, God rest his soul, what a nice spot
it was for an Ingian ambuscade, if they had only gumption enough to
think of it."

"Hark!" said the officer, whose heart, eye, and ear were painfully on
the alert, "what rustling is that we hear overhead?"

"It's Jack Fuller, no doubt, your honour; I sent him up to clear away
the branches from the main topmast rigging." Then raising his head, and
elevating his voice, "Hilloa! aloft there!"

The only answer was a groan, followed by a deeper commotion among the
rustling foliage.

"Why, what the devil's the matter with you now, Jack?" pursued the
boatswain, in a voice of angry vehemence. "Are ye scared at another
ghost, and be damned to you, that ye keep groaning there after that

At that moment a heavy dull mass was heard tumbling through the upper
rigging of the schooner towards the deck, and presently a human form
fell at the very feet of the small group, composed of the two officers
and the individual who had last spoken.

"A light, a light!" shouted the boatswain; "the foolish chap has lost
his hold through fear, and ten to one if he hasn't cracked his
skull-piece for his pains. Quick there with a light, and let's see what
we can do for him."

The attention of all had been arrested by the sound of the falling
weight, and as one of the sailors now advanced, bearing a dark lantern
from below, the whole of the crew, with the exception of those employed
on the fallen tree, gathered themselves in a knot round the motionless
form of the prostrate man. But no sooner had their eyes encountered the
object of their interest, when each individual started suddenly and
involuntarily back, baring his cutlass, and drawing forth his pistol,
the whole presenting a group of countenances strongly marked by various
shades of consternation and alarm, even while their attitudes were
those of men prepared for some fierce and desperate danger. It was
indeed Fuller whom they had beheld, but not labouring, as the boatswain
had imagined, under the mere influence of superstitious fear. He was
dead, and the blood flowing from a deep wound, inflicted by a sharp
instrument in his chest, and the scalped head, too plainly told the
manner of his death, and the danger that awaited them all.

A pause ensued, but it was short. Before any one could find words to
remark on the horrible circumstance, the appalling war-cry of the
savages burst loudly from every quarter upon the ears of the devoted
crew. In the desperation of the moment, several of the men clutched
their cutlasses between their teeth, and seizing the concealed matches,
rushed to their respective stations at the guns. It was in vain the
boatswain called out to them, in a voice of stern authority, to desist,
intimating that their only protection lay in the reservation of the
fire of their batteries. Goaded and excited, beyond the power of
resistance, to an impulse that set all subordination at defiance, they
applied the matches, and almost at the same instant the terrific
discharge of both broadsides took place, rocking the vessel to the
water's edge, and reverberating, throughout, the confined space in
which she lay, like the deadly explosion of some deeply excavated mine.

Scarcely had the guns been fired, when the seamen became sensible of
their imprudence. The echoes were yet struggling to force a passage
through the dense forest, when a second yell of the Indians announced
the fiercest joy and triumph, unmixed by disaster, at the result; and
then the quick leaping of many forms could be heard, as they divided
the crashing underwood, and rushed forward to close with their prey. It
was evident, from the difference of sound, their first cry had been
pealed forth while lying prostrate on the ground, and secure from the
bullets, whose harmless discharge that cry was intended to provoke; for
now the voices seemed to rise progressively from the earth, until they
reached the level of each individual height, and were already almost
hotly breathing in the ears of those they were destined to fill with
illimitable dismay.

"Shiver my topsails, but this comes of disobeying orders," roared the
boatswain, in a voice of mingled anger and vexation. "The Ingians are
quite as cunning as ourselves, and arn't to be frighted that way.
Quick, every cutlass and pistol to his gangway, and let's do our best.
Pass the word forward for the axemen to return to quarters."

Recovered from their first paroxysm of alarm, the men at length became
sensible of the presence of a directing power, which, humble as it was,
their long habits of discipline had taught them to respect, and, headed
on the one side by Captain de Haldimar, and on the other by Sir Everard
Valletort, neither of whom, however, entertained the most remote chance
of success, flew, as commanded, to their respective gangways. The yell
of the Indians had again ceased, and all was hushed into stillness; but
as the anxious and quicksighted officers gazed over the bulwarks, they
fancied they could perceive, even through the deep gloom that every
where prevailed, the forms of men,--resting in cautious and eager
attitudes, on the very verge of the banks, and at a distance of little
more than half pistol shot. Every heart beat with expectancy,--every
eye was riveted intently in front, to watch and meet the first
movements of their foes, but not a sound of approach was audible to the
equally attentive ear. In this state of aching suspense they might have
continued about five minutes, when suddenly their hearts were made to
quail by a third cry, that came, not as previously, from the banks of
the river, but from the very centre of their own decks, and from the
top-mast and riggings of the schooner. So sudden and unexpected too was
this fresh danger, that before the two parties had time to turn, and
assume a new posture of defence, several of them had already fallen
under the butchering blades of their enemies. Then commenced a
desperate but short conflict, mingled with yellings, that again were
answered from every point; and rapidly gliding down the pendant ropes,
were to be seen the active and dusky forms of men, swelling the number
of the assailants, who had gained the deck in the same noiseless
manner, until resistance became almost hopeless.

"Ha! I hear the footsteps of our lads at last," exclaimed Mullins
exultingly to his comrades, as he finished despatching a third savage
with his sturdy weapon. "Quick, men, quick, up with hatchet and
cutlass, and take them in the rear. If we are to die, let's die--"
game, he would perhaps have added, but death arrested the word upon his
lips; and his corpse rolled along the deck, until its further progress
was stopped by the stiffened body of the unhappy Fuller.

Notwithstanding the fall of their brave leader, and the whoopings of
their enemies, the flagging spirits of the men were for a moment
excited by the announcement of the return even of the small force of
the axemen, and they defended themselves with a courage and
determination worthy of a better result; but when, by the lurid light
of the torches, now lying burning about the decks, they turned and
beheld not their companions, but a fresh band of Indians, at whose
pouch-belts dangled the reeking scalps of their murdered friends, they
at once relinquished the combat as hopeless, and gave themselves
unresistingly up to be bound by their captors.

Meanwhile the cousins experienced a renewal of all those horrors from
which their distracted minds had been temporarily relieved; and,
petrified with alarm, as they lay in the solitary berth that contained
them both, endured sufferings infinitely more terrible than death
itself. The early part of the tumult they had noticed almost without
comprehending its cause, and but for the terrific cry of the Indians
that had preceded them, would have mistaken the deafening broadsides
for the blowing up of the vessel, so tremendous and violent bad been
the concussion. Nay, there was a moment when Miss de Haldimar felt a
pang of deep disappointment and regret at the misconception; for, with
the fearful recollection of past events, so strongly impressed on her
bleeding heart, she could not but acknowledge, that to be engulfed in
one general and disastrous explosion, was mercy compared with the
alternative of falling into the hands of those to whom her loathing
spirit bad been too fatally taught to deny even the commonest
attributes of humanity. As for Clara, she had not the power to think,
or to form a conjecture on the subject:--she was merely sensible of a
repetition of the horrible scenes from which she had so recently been
snatched, and with a pale cheek, a fixed eye, and an almost pulseless
heart, lay without motion in the inner side of the berth. The piteous
spectacle of her cousin's alarm lent a forced activity to the despair
of Miss de Haldimar, in whom apprehension produced that strong energy
of excitement that sometimes gives to helplessness the character of
true courage. With the increasing clamour of appalling conflict on
deck, this excitement grew at every moment stronger, until it finally
became irrepressible, so that at length, when through the cabin windows
there suddenly streamed a flood of yellow light, extinguishing that of
the lamp that threw its flickering beams around the cabin, she flung
herself impetuously from the berth, and, despite of the aged and
trembling female who attempted to detain her, burst open the narrow
entrance to the cabin, and rushed up the steps communicating with the

The picture that here met her eyes was at once graphic and fearful in
the extreme. On either side of the river lines of streaming torches
were waved by dusky warriors high above their heads, reflecting the
grim countenances, not only of those who bore them, but of dense groups
in their rear, whose numbers were alone concealed by the foliage of the
forest in which they stood. From the branches that wove themselves
across the centre of the river, and the topmast and rigging of the
vessel, the same strong yellow light, produced by the bark of the birch
tree steeped in gum, streamed down upon the decks below, rendering each
line and block of the schooner as distinctly visible as if it had been
noon on the sunniest of those far distant lakes. The deck itself was
covered with the bodies of slain men--sailors, and savages mixed
together; and amid these were to be seen fierce warriors, reclining
triumphantly and indolently on their rifles, while others were occupied
in securing the arms of their captives with leathern thongs behind
their backs. The silence that now prevailed was strongly in contrast
with, and even more fearful than, the horrid shouts by which it had
been preceded; and, but for the ghastly countenances of the captives,
and the quick rolling eyes of the savages, Miss de Haldimar might have
imagined herself the sport of some extraordinary and exciting illusion.
Her glance over these prominent features in the tragedy had been
cursory, yet accurate. It now rested on one that had more immediate and
terrifying interest for herself. At a few paces in front of the
companion ladder, and with their backs turned towards her, stood two
individuals, whose attitudes denoted the purpose of men resolved to
sell with their lives alone a passage to a tall fierce-looking savage,
whose countenance betrayed every mark of triumphant and deadly passion,
while he apparently hesitated whether his uplifted arm should stay the
weapon it wielded. These individuals were Captain de Haldimar and Sir
Everard Valletort; and to the former of these the attention of the
savage was more immediately and exultingly directed; so much so,
indeed, that Miss de Haldimar thought she could read in the ferocious
expression of his features the death-warrant of her cousin. In the wild
terror of the moment she gave a piercing scream that was answered by a
hundred yelling voices, and rushing between her lover and his enemy,
threw herself wildly and supplicatingly at the feet of the latter.
Uttering a savage laugh, the monster spurned her from him with his
foot, when, quick as thought, a pistol was discharged within a few
inches of his face; but with a rapidity equal to that of his assailant,
he bent aside his head, and the ball passed harmlessly on. The yell
that followed was terrific; and while it was yet swelling into fulness,
Captain de Haldimar felt an iron hand furiously grappling his throat,
and, ere the grasp was relinquished, he again stood the bound and
passive victim of the warrior of the Fleur de lis.


The interval that succeeded to the last council-scene of the Indians
was passed by the officers of Detroit in a state of inexpressible
anxiety and doubt. The fears entertained for the fate of their
companions, who had set out in the perilous and almost forlorn hope of
reaching Michilimackinac, in time to prevent the consummation of the
threatened treachery, had, in some degree, if not wholly, been allayed
by the story narrated by the Ottawa chief. It was evident, from his
statement, the party had again met, and been engaged in fearful
struggle with the gigantic warrior they had all so much reason to
recollect; and it was equally apparent, that in that struggle they had
been successful. But still, so many obstacles were likely to be opposed
to their navigation of the several lakes and rivers over which lay
their course, it was almost feared, even if they eventually escaped
unharmed themselves, they could not possibly reach the fort in time to
communicate the danger that awaited their friends. It is true, the time
gained by Governor de Haldimar on the first occasion had afforded a
considerable interval, of which advantage might be taken; but it was
also, on the other hand, uncertain whether Ponteac had commanded the
same delay in the council of the chiefs investing Michilimackinac, to
which he had himself assented. Three days were sufficient to enable an
Indian warrior to perform the journey by land; and it was chiefly on
this vague and uncertain ground they based whatever little of hope was
entertained on the subject.

It had been settled at the departure of the adventurers, that the
instant they effected a communication with the schooner on Lake Huron,
Francois should be immediately sent back, with instructions so to
contrive the period of his return, that his canoe should make its
appearance soon after daybreak at the nearest extremity of Hog Island,
the position of which has been described in our introductory chapter.
From this point a certain signal, that could be easily distinguished
with the aid of a telescope, was to be made from the canoe, which,
without being of a nature to attract the attention of the savages, was
yet to be such as could not well be mistaken by the garrison. This was
a precaution adopted, not only with the view of giving the earliest
intimation of the result of the enterprise, but lest the Canadian
should be prevented, by any closer investment on the part of the
Indians, from communicating personally with the fort in the way he had
been accustomed.

It will easily be comprehended therefore, that, as the period
approached when they might reasonably look for the return of Francois,
if he should return at all, the nervous anxiety of the officers became
more and more developed. Upwards of a week had elapsed since the
departure of their friends; and already, for the last day or two, their
impatience had led them, at early dawn, and with beating hearts, to
that quarter of the rampart which overlooked the eastern extremity of
Hog Island. Hitherto, however, their eager watching had been in vain.
As far as our recollection of the Canadian tradition of this story
serves us, it must have been on the fourth night after the final
discomfiture of the plans of Ponteac, and the tenth from the departure
of the adventurers, that the officers were assembled in the mess-room,
partaking of the scanty and frugal supper to which their long
confinement had reduced them. The subject of their conversation, as it
was ever of their thoughts, was the probable fate of their companions;
and many and various, although all equally melancholy, were the
conjectures offered as to the result. There was on the countenance of
each, that deep and fixed expression of gloom, which, if it did not
indicate any unmanliness of despair, told at least that hope was nearly
extinct: but more especially was this remarkable in the young but sadly
altered Charles de Haldimar, who, with a vacant eye and a pre-occupied
manner, seemed wholly abstracted from the scene before him.

All was silence in the body of the fort. The men off duty had long
since retired to rest in their clothes, and only the "All's well!" of
the sentinels was heard at intervals of a quarter of an hour, as the
cry echoed from mouth to mouth in the line of circuit. Suddenly,
however, between two of those intervals, and during a pause in the
languid conversation of the officers, the sharp challenge of a sentinel
was heard, and then quick steps on the rampart, as of men hastening to
the point whence the challenge had been given. The officers, whom this
new excitement seemed to arouse into fresh activity, hurriedly quitted
the room; and, with as little noise as possible, gained the spot where
the voice had been heard. Several men were bending eagerly over the
rampart, and, with their muskets at the recover, riveting their gaze on
a dark and motionless object that lay on the verge of the ditch
immediately beneath them.

"What have you here, Mitchell?" asked Captain Blessington, who was in
command of the guard, and who had recognised the gruff voice of the
veteran in the challenge just given.

"An American burnt log, your honour," muttered the soldier, "if one was
to judge from its stillness; but if it is, it must have rolled there
within the last minute; for I'll take my affidavy it wasn't here when I
passed last in my beat."

"An American burnt log, indeed! it's some damned rascal of a spy,
rather," remarked Captain Erskine. "Who knows but it may be our big
friend, come to pay us a visit again? And yet he is not half long
enough for him, either. Can't you try and tickle him with the bayonet,
any of you fellows, and see whether he is made of flesh and blood?"

Although this observation was made almost without object, it being
totally impossible for any musket, even with the addition of its
bayonet, to reach more than half way across the ditch, the several
sentinels threw themselves on their chests, and, stretching over the
rampart as far as possible, made the attempt to reach the suspicious
looking object that lay beyond. No sooner, however, had their arms been
extended in such a manner as to be utterly powerless, when the dark
mass was seen to roll away in an opposite direction, and with such
rapidity that, before the men could regain their feet and level their
muskets, it had entirely disappeared from their view.

"Cleverly managed, to give the red skin his due," half laughingly
observed Captain Erskine, while his brother officers continued to fix
their eyes in astonishment on the spot so recently occupied by the
strange object; "but what the devil could be his motive for lying there
so long? Not playing the eaves-dropper, surely; and yet, if he meant to
have picked off a sentinel, what was to have prevented him from doing
it sooner?"

"He had evidently no arms," said Ensign Delme.

"No, nor legs either, it would appear," resumed the literal Erskine.
"Curse me if I ever saw any thing in the shape of a human form bundled
together in that manner."

"I mean he had no fire-arms--no rifle," pursued Delme.

"And if he had, he certainly would have rifled one of us of a life,"
continued the captain, laughing at his own conceit. "But come, the bird
is flown, and we have only to thank ourselves for having been so
egregiously duped. Had Valletort been here, he would have given a
different account of him."

"Hist! listen!" exclaimed Lieutenant Johnstone, calling the attention
of the party to a peculiar and low sound in the direction in which the
supposed Indian had departed.

It was repeated, and in a plaintive tone, indicating a desire to
propitiate. Soon afterwards a human form was seen advancing slowly, but
without show either of concealment or hostility in its movements. It
finally remained stationary on the spot where the dark and shapeless
mass had been first perceived.

"Another Oucanasta for De Haldimar, no doubt," observed Captain
Erskine, after a moment's pause. "These grenadiers carry every thing
before them as well in love as in war."

The error of the good-natured officer was, however, obvious to all but
himself. The figure, which was now distinctly traced in outline for
that of a warrior, stood boldly and fearlessly on the brink of the
ditch, holding up its left arm, in the hand of which dangled something
that was visible in the starlight, and pointing energetically to this
pendant object with the other.

A voice from one of the party now addressed the Indian in two several
dialects, but without eliciting a reply. He either understood not, or
would not answer the question proposed, but continued pointing
significantly to the indistinct object which he still held forth in an
elevated position.

"The governor must be apprised of this," observed Captain Blessington
to De Haldimar, who was his subaltern of the guard. "Hasten, Charles,
to acquaint your father, and receive his orders."

The young officer willingly obeyed the injunction of his superior. A
secret and indefinable hope rushed through his mind, that as the Indian
came not in hostility, he might be the bearer of some communication
from their friends; and he moved rapidly towards that part of the
building occupied by his father.

The light of a lamp suspended over the piazza leading to the governor's
rooms reflecting strongly on his regimentals, he passed unchallenged by
the sentinels posted there, and uninterruptedly gained a door that
opened on a narrow passage, at the further extremity of which was the
sitting-room usually occupied by his parent. This again was entered
from the same passage by a second door, the upper part of which was of
common glass, enabling any one on the outside to trace with facility
every object within when the place was lighted up.

A glance was sufficient to satisfy the youth his father was not in the
room; although there was strong evidence he had not retired for the
night. In the middle of the floor stood an oaken table, and on this lay
an open writing desk, with a candle on each side, the wicks of which
had burnt so long as to throw a partial gloom over the surrounding
wainscotting. Scattered about the table and desk were a number of
letters that had apparently been just looked at or read; and in the
midst of these an open case of red morocco, containing a miniature. The
appearance of these letters, thus left scattered about by one who was
scrupulously exact in the arrangement of his papers, added to the
circumstance of the neglected and burning candles, confirmed the young
officer in an impression that his father, overcome by fatigue, had
retired into his bed-room, and fallen unconsciously asleep. Imagining,
therefore, he could not, without difficulty, succeed in making himself
heard, and deeming the urgency of the case required it, he determined
to wave the usual ceremony of knocking, and penetrate to his father's
bedroom unannounced. The glass door being without fastening within,
easily yielded to his pressure of the latch; but as he passed by the
table, a strong and natural feeling of curiosity induced him to cast
his eye upon the miniature. To his infinite surprise, nay, almost
terror, he discovered it was that of his mother--the identical portrait
which his sister Clara had worn in her bosom from infancy, and which he
had seen clasped round her neck on the very deck of the schooner in
which she sailed for Michilimackinac. He felt there could be no
mistake, for only one miniature of the sort had ever been in possession
of the family, and that the one just accounted for. Almost stupified at
what he saw, and scarcely crediting the evidence of his senses, the
young officer glanced his eye hurriedly along one of the open letters
that lay around. It was in the well remembered hand-writing of his
mother, and commenced, "Dear, dearest Reginald." After this followed
expressions of endearment no woman might address except to an affianced
lover, or the husband of her choice; and his heart sickened while he
read. Scarcely, however, had he scanned half a dozen lines, when it
occurred to him he was violating some secret of his parents; and,
discontinuing the perusal with an effort, he prepared to acquit himself
of his mission.

On raising his eyes from the paper he was startled by the appearance of
his father, who, with a stern brow and a quivering lip, stood a few
paces from the table, apparently too much overcome by his indignation
to be able to utter a sentence.

Charles de Haldimar felt all the awkwardness of his position. Some
explanation of his conduct, however, was necessary; and he stammered
forth the fact of the portrait having riveted his attention, from its
striking resemblance to that in his sister's possession.

"And to what do these letters bear resemblance?" demanded the governor,
in a voice that trembled in its attempt to be calm, while he fixed his
penetrating eye on that of his son. "THEY, it appears, were equally
objects of attraction with you."

"The letters were in the hand-writing of my mother; and I was
irresistibly led to glance at one of them," replied the youth, with the
humility of conscious wrong. "The action was involuntary, and no sooner
committed than repented of. I am here, my father, on a mission of
importance, which must account for my presence."

"A mission of importance!" repeated the governor, with more of sorrow
than of anger in the tone in which he now spoke. "On what mission are
you here, if it be not to intrude unwarrantably on a parent's privacy?"

The young officer's cheek flushed high, as he proudly answered:--"I was
sent by Captain Blessington, sir, to take your orders in regard to an
Indian who is now without the fort under somewhat extraordinary
circumstances, yet evidently without intention of hostility. It is
supposed he bears some message from my brother."

The tone of candour and offended pride in which this formal
announcement of duty was made seemed to banish all suspicion from the
mind of the governor; and he remarked, in a voice that had more of the
kindness that had latterly distinguished his address to his son, "Was
this, then, Charles, the only motive for your abrupt intrusion at this
hour? Are you sure no inducement of private curiosity was mixed up with
the discharge of your duty, that you entered thus unannounced? You must
admit, at least, I found you employed in a manner different from what
the urgency of your mission would seem to justify."

There was lurking irony in this speech; yet the softened accents of his
father, in some measure, disarmed the youth of the bitterness he would
have flung into his observation,--"That no man on earth, his parent
excepted, should have dared to insinuate such a doubt with impunity."

For a moment Colonel de Haldimar seemed to regard his son with a
surprised but satisfied air, as if he had not expected the
manifestation of so much spirit, in one whom he had been accustomed
greatly to undervalue.

"I believe you, Charles," he at length observed; "forgive the
justifiable doubt, and think no more of the subject. Yet, one word," as
the youth was preparing to depart; "you have read that letter" (and he
pointed to that which had principally arrested the attention of the
officer): "what impression has it given you of your mother? Answer me
sincerely. MY name," and his faint smile wore something of the
character of triumph, "is not REGINALD, you know."

The pallid cheek of the young man flushed at this question. His own
undisguised impression was, that his mother had cherished a guilty love
for another than her husband. He felt the almost impiety of such a
belief, but he could not resist the conviction that forced itself on
his mind; the letter in her handwriting spoke for itself; and though
the idea was full of wretchedness, he was unable to conquer it.
Whatever his own inference might be, however, he could not endure the
thought of imparting it to his father; he, therefore, answered

"Doubtless my mother had some dear relative of the name, and to him was
this letter addressed; perhaps a brother, or an uncle. But I never
knew," he pursued, with a look of appeal to his father, "that a second
portrait of my mother existed. This is the very counterpart of Clara's."

"It may be the same," remarked the governor, but in a tone of
indecision, that dented his faith in what he uttered.

"Impossible, my father. I accompanied Clara, if you recollect, as far
as Lake Sinclair; and when I quitted the deck of the schooner to
return, I particularly remarked my sister wore her mother's portrait,
as usual, round her neck."

"Well, no matter about the portrait," hurriedly rejoined the governor;
"yet, whatever your impression, Charles," and he spoke with a warmth
that was far from habitual to him, "dare not to sully the memory of
your mother by a doubt of her purity. An accident has given this letter
to your inspection, but breathe not its contents to a human creature;
above all, respect the being who gave you birth. Go, tell Captain
Blessington to detain the Indian; I will join you immediately."

Strongly, yet confusedly, impressed with the singularity of the scene
altogether, and more particularly with his father's strange admonition,
the young officer quitted the room, and hastened to rejoin his
companions. On reaching the rampart he found that the Indian, during
his long absence, had departed; yet not without depositing, on the
outer edge of the ditch, the substance to which he had previously
directed their attention. At the moment of De Haldimar's approach, the
officers were bending over the rampart, and, with straining eyes,
endeavouring to make out what it was, but in vain; something was just
perceptible in the withered turf, but what that something was no one
could succeed in discovering.

"Whatever this be, we must possess ourselves of it," said Captain
Blessington: "it is evident, from the energetic manner of him who left
it, it is of importance. I think I know who is the best swimmer and
climber of our party."

Several voices unanimously pronounced the name of "Johnstone."

"Any thing for a dash of enterprise," said that officer, whose slight
wound had been perfectly healed. "But what do you propose that the
swimmer and climber should do, Blessington?"

"Secure yon parcel, without lowering the drawbridge."

"What! and be scalped in the act? Who knows if it be not a trick after
all, and that the rascal who placed it there is not lying within a few
feet, ready to pounce upon me the instant I reach the bank."

"Never mind," said Erskine, laughingly, "we will revenge your death, my

"Besides, consider the nunquam non paratus, Johnstone," slily remarked
Lieutenant Leslie.

"What, again, Leslie?" energetically responded the young Scotsman. "Yet
think not I hesitate, for I did but jest: make fast a rope round my
loins, and I think I will answer for the result."

Colonel de Haldimar now made his appearance. Having heard a brief
statement of the facts, and approving of the suggestion of Captain
Blessington, a rope was procured, and made fast under the shoulders of
the young officer, who had previously stripped himself of his uniform
and shoes. He then suffered himself to drop gently over the edge of the
rampart, his companions gradually lowering the rope, until a deep and
gasping aspiration, such as is usually wrung from one coming suddenly
in contact with cold water, announced he had gained the surface of the
ditch. The rope was then slackened, to give him the unrestrained
command of his limbs; and in the next instant he was seen clambering up
the opposite elevation.

Although the officers, indulging in a forced levity, in a great degree
meant to encourage their companion, had treated his enterprise with
indifference, they were far from being without serious anxiety for the
result. They had laughed at the idea, suggested by him, of being
scalped; whereas, in truth, they entertained the apprehension far more
powerfully than he did himself. The artifices resorted to by the
savages, to secure an isolated victim, were so many and so various,
that suspicion could not but attach to the mysterious occurrence they
had just witnessed. Willing even as they were to believe their present
visitor, whoever he was, came not in a spirit of enmity, they could not
altogether divest themselves of a fear that it was only a subtle
artifice to decoy one of them within the reach of their traitorous
weapons. They, therefore, watched the movements of their companion with
quickening pulses; and it was with a lively satisfaction they saw him,
at length, after a momentary search, descend once more into the ditch,
and, with a single powerful impulsion of his limbs, urge himself back
to the foot of the rampart. Neither feet nor hands were of much
service, in enabling him to scale the smooth and slanting logs that
composed the exterior surface of the works; but a slight jerk of the
well secured rope, serving as a signal to his friends, he was soon
dragged once more to the summit of the rampart, without other injury
than a couple of slight bruises.

"Well, what success?" eagerly asked Leslie and Captain Erskine in the
same breath, as the dripping Johnstone buried himself in the folds of a
capacious cloak procured during his absence.

"You shall hear," was the reply; "but first, gentlemen, allow me, if
you please, to enjoy, with yourselves, the luxury of dry clothes. I
have no particular ambition to contract an American ague fit just now;
yet, unless you take pity on me, and reserve my examination for a
future moment, there is every probability I shall not have a tooth left
by to-morrow morning."

No one could deny the justice of the remark, for the teeth of the young
man were chattering as he spoke. It was not, therefore, until after he
had changed his dress, and swallowed a couple of glasses of Captain
Erskine's never failing spirit, that they all repaired once more to the
mess-room, when Johnstone anticipated all questions, by the production
of the mysterious packet.

After removing several wrappers of bark, each of which was secured by a
thong of deerskin, Colonel de Haldimar, to whom the successful officer
had handed his prize, at length came to a small oval case of red
morocco, precisely similar, in size and form, to that which had so
recently attracted the notice of his son. For a moment he hesitated,
and his cheek was observed to turn pale, and his hand to tremble; but
quickly subduing his indecision, he hurriedly unfastened the clasp, and
disclosed to the astonished view of the officers the portrait of a
young and lovely woman, habited in the Highland garb.

Exclamations of various kinds burst from the lips of the group of
officers. Several knew it to be the portrait of Mrs. de Haldimar;
others recognised it from the striking likeness it bore to Clara and to
Charles; all knew it had never been absent from the possession of the
former since her mother's death; and feeling satisfied as they did that
its extraordinary appearance among them, at the present moment, was an
announcement of some dreadful disaster, their countenances wore an
impress of dismay little inferior to that of the wretched Charles, who,
agonized beyond all attempt at description, had thrown himself into a
seat in the rear of the group, and sat like one bewildered, with his
head buried in his hands.

"Gentlemen," at length observed Colonel de Haldimar, in a voice that
proved how vainly his natural emotion was sought to be subdued by his
pride, "this, I fear me, is an unwelcome token. It comes to announce to
a father the murder of his child; to us all, the destruction of our
last remaining friends and comrades."

"God forbid!" solemnly aspirated Captain Blessington. After a pause of
a moment or two he pursued: "I know not why, sir; but my impression is,
the appearance of this portrait, which we all recognise for that worn
by Miss de Haldimar, bears another interpretation."

Colonel de Haldimar shook his head.--"I have but too much reason to
believe," he observed, smiling in mournful bitterness, "it has been
conveyed to us not in mercy but in revenge."

No one ventured to question why; for notwithstanding all were aware
that in the mysterious ravisher of the wife of Halloway Colonel de
Haldimar had a fierce and inexorable private enemy, no allusion had
ever been made by that officer himself to the subject.

"Will you permit me to examine the portrait and envelopes, Colonel?"
resumed Captain Blessington: "I feel almost confident, although I
confess I have no other motive for it than what springs from a
recollection of the manner of the Indian, that the result will bear me
out in my belief the bearer came not in hostility but in friendship."

"By my faith, I quite agree with Blessington," said Captain Erskine;
"for, in addition to the manner of the Indian, there is another
evidence in favour of his position. Was it merely intended in the light
in which you consider it, Colonel, the case or the miniature itself
might have been returned, but certainly not the metal in which it is
set. The savages are fully aware of the value of gold, and would not so
easily let it slip through their fingers."

"And wherefore thus carefully wrapped up?" remarked Lieutenant
Johnstone, "unless it had been intended it should meet with no injury
on the way. I certainly think the portrait never would have been
conveyed, in its present perfect state, by an enemy."

"The fellow seemed to feel, too, that he came in the character of one
whose intentions claimed all immunity from harm," remarked Captain
Wentworth. "He surely never would have stood so fearlessly on the brink
of the ditch, and within pistol shot, had he not been conscious of
rendering some service to those connected with us."

To these several observations of his officers, Colonel de Haldimar
listened attentively; and although he made no reply, it was evident he
felt gratified at the eagerness with which each sought to remove the
horrible impression he had stated to have existed in his own mind.
Meanwhile, Captain Blessington had turned and examined the miniature in
fifty different ways, but without succeeding in discovering any thing
that could confirm him in his original impression. Vexed and
disappointed, he at length flung it from him on the table, and sinking
into a seat at the side of the unfortunate Charles, pressed the hand of
the youth in significant silence.

Finding his worst fears now confirmed. Colonel de Haldimar, for the
first time, cast a glance towards his son, whose drooping head, and
sorrowing attitude, spoke volumes to his heart. For a moment his own
cheek blanched, and his eye was seen to glisten with the first tear
ever witnessed there by those around him. Subduing his emotion,
however, he drew up his person to its lordly height, as if that act
reminded him the commander was not to be lost in the father, and
quitting the room with a heavy brow and step, recommended to his
officers the repose of which they appeared to stand so much in need.
But not one was there who felt inclined to court the solitude of his
pillow. No sooner were the footsteps of the governor heard dying away
in the distance, when fresh lights were ordered, and several logs of
wood heaped on the slackening fire. Around this the officers now
grouped, and throwing themselves back in their chairs, assumed the
attitudes of men seeking to indulge rather in private reflection than
in personal converse.

The grief of the wretched Charles de Haldimar, hitherto restrained by
the presence of his father, and encouraged by the touching evidences of
interest afforded him by the ever-considerate Blessington, now burst
forth audibly. No attempt was made by the latter officer to check the
emotion of his young friend. Knowing his passionate fondness for his
sister, he was not without fear that the sudden shock produced by the
appearance of her miniature might destroy his reason, even if it
affected not his life; and as the moment was now come when tears might
be shed without exciting invidious remark in the only individual who
was likely to make it, he sought to promote them as much as possible.
Too much occupied in their own mournful reflections to bestow more than
a passing notice on the weakness of their friend, the group round the
fireplace scarcely seemed to have regarded his emotion.

This violent paroxysm past, De Haldimar breathed more freely; and,
after listening to several earnest observations of Captain Blessington,
who still held out the possibility of something favourable turning up,
on a re-examination of the portrait by daylight, he was so far composed
as to be able to attend to the summons of the sergeant of the guard,
who came to say the relief were ready, and waiting to be inspected
before they were finally marched off. Clasping the extended hand of his
captain between his own, with a pressure indicative of his deep
gratitude, De Haldimar now proceeded to the discharge of his duty; and
having caught up the portrait, which still lay on the table, and thrust
it into the breast of his uniform, he repaired hurriedly to rejoin his
guard, from which circumstances alone had induced his unusually long


The remainder of that night was passed by the unhappy De Haldimar in a
state of indescribable wretchedness. After inspecting the relief, he
had thrown himself on his rude guard-bed; and, drawing his cloak over
his eyes, given full rein to the wanderings of his excited imagination.
It was in vain the faithful old Morrison, who never suffered his master
to mount a guard without finding some one with whom to exchange his
tour of duty, when he happened not to be in orders himself, repeatedly
essayed, as he sat stirring the embers of the fire, to enter into
conversation with him. The soul of the young officer was sick, past the
endurance even of that kind voice; and, more than once, he impetuously
bade him be silent, if he wished to continue where he was; or, if not,
to join his comrades in the next guard-room. A sigh was the only
respectful but pained answer to these sharp remonstrances; and De
Haldimar, all absorbed even as he was in his own grief, felt it deeply;
for he knew the old man loved him, and he could not bear the idea of
appearing to repay with slight the well-intentioned efforts of one whom
he had always looked upon more as a dependant on his family than as the
mere rude soldier. Still he could not summon courage to disclose the
true nature of his grief, which the other merely ascribed to general
causes and vague apprehensions of a yet unaccomplished evil. Morrison
had ever loved his sister with an affection in no way inferior to that
which he bore towards himself. He had also nursed her in childhood; and
his memory was ever faithful to trace, as his tongue was to dwell on,
those gentle and amiable qualities, which, strongly marked at an
earlier period of her existence, had only undergone change, inasmuch as
they had become matured and more forcibly developed in womanhood.
Often, latterly, had the grey-haired veteran been in the habit of
alluding to her; for he saw the subject was one that imparted a
mournful satisfaction to the youth; and, with a tact that years, more
than deep reading of the human heart, had given him, he ever made a
point of adverting to their re-union as an event admitting not of doubt.

Hitherto the affectionate De Haldimar had loved to listen to these
sounds of comfort; for, although they carried no conviction to his
mind, impressed as he was with the terrible curse of Ellen Halloway,
and the consequent belief that his family were devoted to some fearful
doom, still they came soothingly and unctuously to his sick soul; and,
all deceptive even as he felt them to be, he found they created a hope
which, while certain to be dispelled by calm after-reflection, carried
a momentary solace to his afflicted spirit. But, now that he had every
evidence his adored sister was no more, and that the illusion of hope
was past for ever, to have heard her name even mentioned by one who,
ignorant of the fearful truth the events of that night had elucidated,
was still ready to renew a strain every chord of which had lost its
power of harmony, was repugnant beyond bearing to his heart. At one
moment he resolved briefly to acquaint the old man with the dreadful
fact, but unwillingness to give pain prevented him; and, moreover, he
felt the grief the communication would draw from the faithful servitor
of his family must be of so unchecked a nature as to render his own
sufferings even more poignant than they were. Neither had he
(independently of all other considerations) resolution enough to forego
the existence of hope in another, even although it had passed entirely
away from himself. It was for these reasons he had so harshly and (for
him) unkindly checked, the attempt of the old man at a conversation
which he, at every moment, felt would be made to turn on the ill-fated

Miserable as he felt his position to be, it was not without
satisfaction he again heard the voice of his sergeant summoning him to
the inspection of another relief. This duty performed, and anxious to
avoid the paining presence of his servant, he determined, instead of
returning to his guard-room, to consume the hour that remained before
day in pacing the ramparts. Leaving word with his subordinate, that, in
the event of his being required, he might be found without difficulty,
he ascended to that quarter of the works where the Indian had been
first seen who had so mysteriously conveyed the sad token he still
retained in his breast. It was on the same side with that particular
point whence we have already stated a full view of the bridge with its
surrounding scenery, together with the waters of the Detroit, where
they were intersected by Hog Island, were distinctly commanded. At
either of those points was stationed a sentinel, whose duty it was to
extend his beat between the boxes used now rather as lines of
demarcation than as places of temporary shelter, until each gained that
of his next comrade, when they again returned to their own, crossing
each other about half way: a system of precaution pursued by the whole
of the sentinels in the circuit of the rampart.

The ostensible motive of the officer in ascending the works, was to
visit his several posts; but no sooner had he found himself between the
points alluded to, which happened to be the first in his course, than
he seemed to be riveted there by a species of fascination. Not that
there was any external influence to produce this effect, for the utmost
stillness reigned both within and around the fort; and, but for the
howling of some Indian wolf-dog in the distance, or the low and
monotonous beat of their drums in the death-dance, there was nought
that gave evidence of the existence of the dreadful enemy by whom they
were beset. But the whole being of the acutely suffering De Haldimar
was absorbed in recollections connected with the spot on which he
stood. At one extremity was the point whence he had witnessed the
dreadful tragedy of Halloway's death; at the other, that on which had
been deposited the but too unerring record of the partial realisation
of the horrors threatened at the termination of that tragedy; and
whenever he attempted to pass each of these boundaries, he felt as if
his limbs repugned the effort.

In the sentinels, his appearance among them excited but little
surprise; for it was no uncommon thing for the officers of the guard to
spend the greatest part of the night in visiting, in turn, the several
more exposed points of the ramparts; and that it was now confined to
one particular part, seemed not even to attract their notice. It was,
therefore, almost wholly unremarked by his men, that the heart-stricken
De Haldimar paced his quick and uncertain walk with an imagination
filled with the most fearful forebodings, and with a heart throbbing
with the most painful excitement. Hitherto, since the discovery of the
contents of the packet, his mind had been so exclusively absorbed in
stupifying grief for his sister, that his perception seemed utterly
incapable of outstepping the limited sphere drawn around it; but now,
other remembrances, connected with the localities, forced themselves
upon his attention; and although, in all these, there was nothing that
was not equally calculated to carry dismay and sorrow to his heart,
still, in dividing his thoughts with the one supreme agony that bowed
him down, they were rather welcomed than discarded. His mind was as a
wheel, embracing grief within grief, multiplied to infinitude; and the
wider and more diffusive the circle, the less powerful was the
concentration of sickening heart and brain on that which was the more
immediate axis of the whole.

Reminded, for the first time, as he pursued his measured but aimless
walk, by the fatal portrait which he more than once pressed with
feverish energy to his lips, of the singular discovery he had made that
night in the apartments of his father, he was naturally led, by a chain
of consecutive thought, into a review of the whole of the extraordinary
scene. The fact of the existence of a second likeness of his mother was
one that did not now fail to reawaken all the unqualified surprise he
had experienced at the first discovery. So far from having ever heard
his father make the slightest allusion to this memorial of his departed
mother, he perfectly recollected his repeatedly recommending to Clara
the safe custody of a treasure, which, if lost, could never be
replaced. What could be the motive for this mystery?--and why had he
sought to impress him with the belief it was the identical portrait
worn by his sister which had so unintentionally been exposed to his
view? Why, too, had he evinced so much anxiety to remove from his mind
all unfavourable impressions in regard to his mother? Why have been so
energetic in his caution not to suffer a taint of impurity to attach to
her memory? Why should he have supposed the possibility of such
impression, unless there had been sufficient cause for it? In what,
moreover, originated his triumphant expression of feature, when, on
that occasion, he reminded him that HIS name was not Reginald? Who,
then, was this Reginald? Then came the recollection of what had been
repeated to him of the parting scene between Halloway and his wife. In
addressing her ill-fated husband, she had named him Reginald. Could it
be possible this was the same being alluded to by his father? But no;
his youth forbade the supposition, being but two years older than his
brother Frederick; yet might he not, in some way or other, be connected
with the Reginald of the letter? Why, too, had his father shown such
unrelenting severity in the case of this unfortunate victim?--a
severity which had induced more than one remark from his officers, that
it looked as if he entertained some personal feeling of enmity towards
a man who had done so much for his family, and stood so high in the
esteem of all who knew him.

Then came another thought. At the moment of his execution, Halloway had
deposited a packet in the hands of Captain Blessington;--could these
letters--could that portrait be the same? Certain it was, by whatever
means obtained, his father could not have had them long in his
possession; for it was improbable letters of so old a date should have
occupied his attention NOW, when many years had rolled over the memory
of his mother. And then, again, what was the meaning of the language
used by the implacable enemy of his father, that uncouth and ferocious
warrior of the Fleur de lis, not only on the occasion of the execution
of Halloway, but afterwards to his brother, during his short captivity;
and, subsequently, when, disguised as a black, he penetrated, with the
band of Ponteac, into the fort, and aimed his murderous weapon at his
father's head. What had made him the enemy of his family? and where and
how had originated his father's connection with so extraordinary and so
savage a being? Could he, in any way, be implicated with his mother?
But no; there was something revolting, monstrous, in the thought:
besides, had not his father stood forward the champion of her
innocence?--had he not declared, with an energy carrying conviction
with every word, that she was untainted by guilt? And would he have
done this, had he had reason to believe in the existence of a criminal
love for him who evidently was his mortal foe? Impossible.

Such were the questions and solutions that crowded on and distracted
the mind of the unhappy De Haldimar, who, after all, could arrive at no
satisfactory conclusion. It was evident there was a secret,--yet,
whatever its nature, it was one likely to go down with his father to
the grave; for, however humiliating the reflection to a haughty parent,
compelled to vindicate the honour of a mother to her son, and in direct
opposition to evidence that scarcely bore a shadow of
misinterpretation, it was clear he had motives for consigning the
circumstance to oblivion, which far outweighed any necessity he felt of
adducing other proofs of her innocence than those which rested on his
own simple yet impressive assertion.

In the midst of these bewildering doubts, De Haldimar heard some one
approaching in his rear, whose footsteps he distinguished from the
heavy pace of the sentinels. He turned, stopped, and was presently
joined by Captain Blessington.

"Why, dearest Charles," almost querulously asked the kind officer, as
he passed his arm through that of his subaltern,--"why will you persist
in feeding this love of solitude? What possible result can it produce,
but an utter prostration of every moral and physical energy? Come,
come, summon a little fortitude; all may not yet be so hopeless as you
apprehend. For my own part, I feel convinced the day will dawn upon
some satisfactory solution of the mystery of that packet."

"Blessington, my dear Blessington!"--and De Haldimar spoke with
mournful energy,--"you have known me from my boyhood, and, I believe,
have ever loved me; seek not, therefore, to draw me from the present
temper of my mind; deprive me not of an indulgence which, melancholy as
it is, now constitutes the sole satisfaction I take in existence."

"By Heaven! Charles, I will not listen to such language. You absolutely
put my patience to the rack."

"Nay, then, I will urge no more," pursued the young officer. "To
revert, therefore, to a different subject. Answer me one question with
sincerity. What were the contents of the packet you received from poor
Halloway previous to his execution? and in whose possession are they

Pleased to find the attention of his young friend diverted for the
moment from his sister, Captain Blessington quickly rejoiced, he
believed the packet contained letters which Halloway had stated to him
were of a nature to throw some light on his family connections. He had,
however, transferred it, with the seal unbroken, as desired by the
unhappy man, to Colonel de Haldimar.

An exclamation of surprise burst involuntarily from the lips of the
youth. "Has my father ever made any allusion to that packet since?" he

"Never," returned Captain Blessington; "and, I confess, his failing to
do so has often excited my astonishment. But why do you ask?"

De Haldimar energetically pressed the arm of his captain, while a heavy
sigh burst from his oppressed heart "This very night, Blessington, on
entering my father's apartment to apprise him of what was going on
here, I saw,--I can scarcely tell you what, but certainly enough to
convince me, from what you have now stated, Halloway was, in some
degree or other, connected with our family. Tell me," he anxiously
pursued, "was there a portrait enclosed with the letters?"

"I cannot state with confidence, Charles," replied his friend; "but if
I might judge from the peculiar form and weight of the packet, I should
be inclined to say not. Have you seen the letters, then?"

"I have seen certain letters which, I have reason to believe, are the
same," returned De Haldimar. "They were addressed to 'Reginald;' and
Halloway, I think you have told me, was so called by his unhappy wife."

"There can be little doubt they are the same," said Captain
Blessington; "but what were their contents, and by whom written, that
you deem they prove a connection between the unhappy soldier and your

De Haldimar felt the blood rise into his cheek, at this natural but
unexpected demand. "I am sure, Blessington," he replied, after a pause,
"you will not think me capable of unworthy mystery towards yourself but
the contents of these letters are sacred, inasmuch as they relate only
to circumstances connected with my father's family."

"This is singular indeed," exclaimed Captain Blessington, in a tone
that marked his utter and unqualified astonishment at what had now been
disclosed to him; "but surely, Charles," he pursued, "if the packet
handed me by Halloway were the same you allude to, he would have caused
the transfer to have been made before the period chosen by him for that

"But the name," pursued De Haldimar; "how are we to separate the
identity of the packets, when we recur to that name of 'Reginald?'"

"True," rejoined the musing Blessington; "there is a mystery in this
that baffles all my powers of penetration. Were I in possession of the
contents of the letters, I might find some clue to solve the enigma:

"You surely do not mean this as a reproach, Blessington?" fervently
interrupted the youth. "More I dare not, cannot say, for the secret is
not my own; and feelings, which it would be dishonour to outrage, alone
bind me to silence. What little I have revealed to you even now, has
been uttered in confidence. I hope you have so understood it."

"Perfectly, Charles. What you have stated, goes no further; but we have
been too long absent from our guard, and I confess I have no particular
fancy for remaining in this chill night-air. Let us return."

De Haldimar made no opposition, and they both prepared to quit the
rampart. As they passed the sentinel stationed at that point where the
Indian had been first seen, their attention was directed by him to a
fire that now suddenly rose, apparently at a great distance, and
rapidly increased in volume. The singularity of this occurrence riveted
the officers for a moment in silent observation; until Captain
Blessington at length ventured a remark, that, judging from the
direction, and the deceptive nature of the element at night, he should
incline to think it was the hut of the Canadian burning.

"Which is another additional proof, were any such wanting, that every
thing is lost," mournfully urged the ever apprehensive De Haldimar.
"Francois has been detected in rendering aid to our friends; and the
Indians, in all probability, after having immolated their victim, are
sacrificing his property to their rage."

During this exchange of opinions, the officers had again moved to the
opposite point of the limited walk of the younger. Scarcely had they
reached it, and before Captain Blessington could find time to reply to
the fears of his friend, when a loud and distant booming like that of a
cannon was heard in the direction of the fire. The alarm was given
hastily by the sentinels, and sounds of preparation and arming were
audible in the course of a minute or two every where throughout the
fort. Startled by the report, which they had half inclined to imagine
produced by the discharge of one of their own guns, the half slumbering
officers had quitted the chairs in which they had passed the night in
the mess-room, and were soon at the side of their more watchful
companions, then anxiously listening for a repetition of the sound.

The day was just beginning to dawn, and as the atmosphere cleared
gradually away, it was perceived the fire rose not from the hut of the
Canadian, but at a point considerably beyond it. Unusual as it was to
see a large fire of this description, its appearance became an object
of minor consideration, since it might be attributed to some caprice or
desire on the part of the Indians to excite apprehension in their
enemies. But how was the report which had reached their ears to be
accounted for? It evidently could only have been produced by the
discharge of a cannon; and if so, where could the Indians have procured
it? No such arm had recently been in their possession; and if it were,
they were totally unacquainted with the manner of serving it.

As the day became more developed, the mystery was resolved. Every
telescope in the fort had been called into requisition; and as they
were now levelled in the direction of the fire, sweeping the line of
horizon around, exclamations of surprise escaped the lips of several.

"The fire is at the near extremity of the wood on Hog Island,"
exclaimed Lieutenant Johnstone. "I can distinctly see the forms of a
multitude of savages dancing round it with hideous gestures and
menacing attitudes."

"They are dancing their infernal war dance," said Captain Wentworth.
"How I should like to be able to discharge a twenty-four pound battery,
loaded with grape, into the very heart of the devilish throng."

"Do you see any prisoners?--Are any of our friends among them?" eagerly
and tremblingly enquired De Haldimar of the officer who had last spoken.

Captain Wentworth made a sweep of his glass along the shores of the
island; but apparently without success. He announced that he could
discover nothing but a vast number of bark canoes lying dry and
upturned on the beach.

"It is an unusual hour for their war dance," observed Captain
Blessington. "My experience furnishes me with no one instance in which
it has not been danced previous to their retiring to rest."

"Unless," said Lieutenant Boyce, "they should have been thus engaged
all night; in which case the singularity may be explained."

"Look, look," eagerly remarked Lieutenant Johnstone--"see how they are
flying to their canoes, bounding and leaping like so many devils broke
loose from their chains. The fire is nearly deserted already."

"The schooner--the schooner!" shouted Captain Erskine. "By Heaven, our
own gallant schooner! see how beautifully she drives past the island.
It was her gun we heard, intended as a signal to prepare us for her

A thrill of wild and indescribable emotion passed through every heart.
Every eye was turned upon the point to which attention was now
directed. The graceful vessel, with every stitch of canvass set, was
shooting rapidly past the low bushes skirting the sands that still
concealed her hull; and in a moment or two she loomed largely and
proudly on the bosom of the Detroit, the surface of which was slightly
curled with a north-western breeze.

"Safe, by Jupiter!" exclaimed the delighted Erskine, dropping the glass
upon the rampart, and rubbing his hands together with every
manifestation of joy.

"The Indians are in chase," said Lieutenant Boyce; "upwards of fifty
canoes are following in the schooner's wake. But Danvers will soon give
us an account of their Lilliputian fleet."

"Let the troops be held in readiness for a sortie, Mr. Lawson," said
the governor, who had joined his officers just as the schooner cleared
the island; "we must cover their landing, or, with this host of savages
in pursuit, they will never effect it alive."

During the whole of this brief but exciting scene, the heart of Charles
de Haldimar beat audibly. A thousand hopes and fears rushed confusedly
on his mind, and he was as one bewildered by, and scarcely crediting
what he saw. Could Clara,--could his cousin--could his brother--could
his friend be on board? He scarcely dared to ask himself these
questions; still it was with a fluttering heart, in which hope,
however, predominated, that he hastened to execute an order of his
captain, that bore immediate reference to his duty as subaltern of the


Meanwhile the schooner dashed rapidly along, her hull occasionally hid
from the view of those assembled on the ramparts by some intervening
orchard or cluster of houses, but her tall spars glittering in their
covering of white canvass, and marking the direction of her course. At
length she came to a point in the river that offered no other
interruption to the eye than what arose from the presence of almost all
the inhabitants of the village, who, urged by curiosity and surprise,
were to be seen crowding the intervening bank. Here the schooner was
suddenly put about, and the English colours, hitherto concealed by the
folds of the canvass, were at length discovered proudly floating in the

Immediately over the gateway of the fort there was an elevated
platform, approached by the rampart, of which it formed a part, by some
half dozen rude steps on either side; and on this platform was placed a
long eighteen pounder, that commanded the whole extent of road leading
from the drawbridge to the river. Hither the officers had all repaired,
while the schooner was in the act of passing the town; and now that,
suddenly brought up in the wind's eye, she rode leisurely in the
offing, every movement on her decks was plainly discernible with the

"Where the devil can Danvers have hid all his crew?" first spoke
Captain Erskine; "I count but half a dozen hands altogether on deck,
and these are barely sufficient to work her."

"Lying concealed, and ready, no doubt, to give the canoes a warm
reception," observed Lieutenant Johnstone; "but where can our friends
be? Surely, if there, they would show themselves to us."

There was truth in this remark; and each felt discouraged and
disappointed that they did not appear.

"There come the whooping hell fiends," said Major Blackwater. "By
Heaven! the very water is darkened with the shadows of their canoes."

Scarcely had he spoken, when the vessel was suddenly surrounded by a
multitude of savages, whose fierce shouts rent the air, while their
dripping paddles, gleaming like silver in the rays of the rising sun,
were alternately waved aloft in triumph, and then plunged into the
troubled element, which they spurned in fury from their blades.

"What can Danvers be about? Why does he not either open his fire, or
crowd sail and away from them?" exclaimed several voices.

"The detachment is in readiness, sir," said Mr. Lawson, ascending the
platform, and addressing Major Blackwater.

"The deck, the deck!" shouted Erskine.

Already the eyes of several were bent in the direction alluded to by
the last speaker, while those whose attention had been diverted by the
approaching canoes glanced rapidly to the same point. To the surprise
and consternation of all, the tall and well-remembered form of the
warrior of the Fleur de lis was seen towering far above the bulwarks of
the schooner; and with an expression in the attitude he had assumed,
which no one could mistake for other than that of triumphant defiance.
Presently he drew from the bosom of his hunting coat a dark parcel, and
springing into the rigging of the main-mast, ascended with incredible
activity to the point where the English ensign was faintly floating in
the breeze. This he tore furiously away, and rending it into many
pieces, cast the fragments into the silver element beneath him, on
whose bosom they were seen to float among the canoes of the savages,
many of whom possessed themselves, with eagerness, of the gaudy
coloured trophies. The dark parcel was now unfolded by the active
warrior, who, after having waved it several times round his head,
commenced attaching it to the lines whence the English ensign had so
recently been torn. It was a large black flag, the purport of which was
too readily comprehended by the excited officers.

"D--n the ruffian! can we not manage to make that, flag serve as his
own winding sheet?" exclaimed Captain Erskine. "Come, Wentworth, give
us a second edition of the sortie firing; I know no man who understands
pointing a gun better than yourself, and this eighteen pounder might do
some mischief."

The idea was instantly caught at by the officer of artillery, who read
his consent in the eye of Colonel de Haldimar. His companions made way
on either side; and several gunners, who were already at their
stations, having advanced to work the piece at the command of their
captain, it was speedily brought to bear upon the schooner.

"This will do, I think," said Wentworth, as, glancing his experienced
eye carefully along the gun, he found it pointed immediately on the
gigantic frame of the warrior. "If this chain-shot miss him, it will be
through no fault of mine."

Every eye was now riveted on the main-mast of the schooner, where the
warrior was still engaged in attaching the portentous flag. The gunner,
who held the match, obeyed the silent signal of his captain; and the
massive iron was heard rushing past the officers, bound on its
murderous mission. A moment or two of intense anxiety elapsed; and when
at length the rolling volumes of smoke gradually floated away, to the
dismay and disappointment of all, the fierce warrior was seen standing
apparently unharmed on the same spot in the rigging. The shot had,
however, been well aimed, for a large rent in the outstretched canvass,
close at his side, and about mid-height of his person, marked the
direction it had taken. Again he tore away, and triumphantly waved the
black flag around his head, while from his capacious lungs there burst
yells of defiance and scorn, that could be distinguished for his own
even at that distance. This done, he again secured the death symbol to
its place; and gliding to the deck by a single rope, appeared to give
orders to the few men of the crew who were to be seen; for every stitch
of canvass was again made to fill, and the vessel, bounding forward
before the breeze then blowing upon her quarter, shot rapidly behind
the town, and was finally seen to cast anchor in the navigable channel
that divides Hog Island from the shores of Canada.

At the discharge of the eighteen pounder, the river had been suddenly
cleared, as if by magic, of every canoe; while, warned by the same
danger, the groups of inhabitants, assembled on the bank, had rushed
for shelter to their respective homes; so that, when the schooner
disappeared, not a vestige of human life was to be seen along that
vista so recently peopled with human forms. An order from Colonel de
Haldimar to the adjutant, countermanding the sortie, was the first
interruption to the silence that had continued to pervade the little
band of officers; and two or three of these having hastened to the
western front of the rampart, in order to obtain a more distinct view
of the movements of the schooner, their example was speedily followed
by the remainder, all of whom now quitted the platform, and repaired to
the same point.

Here, with the aid of their telescopes, they again distinctly commanded
a view of the vessel, which lay motionless close under the sandy beach
of the island, and exhibiting all the technicalities of skill in the
disposition of sails and yards peculiar to the profession. In vain,
however, was every eye strained to discover, among the multitude of
savages that kept momentarily leaping to her deck, the forms of those
in whom they were most interested. A group of some half dozen men,
apparently common sailors, and those, in all probability, whose
services had been compelled in the working of the vessel, were the only
evidences that civilised man formed a portion of that grotesque
assemblage. These, with their arms evidently bound behind their backs,
and placed on one of the gangways, were only visible at intervals, as
the band of savages that surrounded them, brandishing their tomahawks
around their heads, occasionally left an opening in their circle. The
formidable warrior of the Fleur de lis was no longer to be seen,
although the flag which he had hoisted still fluttered in the breeze.

"All is lost, then," ejaculated the governor, with a mournfulness of
voice and manner that caused many of his officers to turn and regard
him with surprise. "That black flag announces the triumph of my foe in
the too certain destruction of my children. Now, indeed," he concluded
in a lower tone, "for the first time, does the curse of Ellen Halloway
sit heavily on my soul."

A deep sigh burst from one immediately behind him. The governor turned
suddenly round, and beheld his son. Never did human countenance wear a
character of more poignant misery than that of the unhappy Charles at
the moment. Attracted by the report of the cannon, he had flown to the
rampart to ascertain the cause, and had reached his companions only to
learn the strong hope so recently kindled in his breast was fled for
ever. His cheek, over which hung his neglected hair, was now pale as
marble, and his lips bloodless and parted; yet, notwithstanding this
intensity of personal sorrow, a tear had started to his eye, apparently
wrung from him by this unusual expression of dismay in his father.

"Charles--my son--my only now remaining child," murmured the governor
with emotion, as he remarked, and started at the death-like image of
the youth; "look not thus, or you will utterly unman me."

A sudden and involuntary impulse caused him to extend his arms. The
young officer sprang forward into the proffered embrace, and sank his
head upon the cheek of his father. It was the first time he had enjoyed
that privilege since his childhood; and even overwhelmed as he was by
his affliction, he felt it deeply.

This short but touching scene was witnessed by their companions,
without levity in any, and with emotion by several. None felt more
gratified at this demonstration of parental affection for the sensitive
boy, than Blessington and Erskine.

"I cannot yet persuade myself," observed the former officer, as the
colonel again assumed that dignity of demeanour which had been
momentarily lost sight of in the ebullition of his feelings,--"I cannot
yet persuade myself things are altogether so bad as they appear. It is
true the schooner is in the possession of the enemy, but there is
nothing to prove our friends are on board."

"If you had reason to know HIM into whose hands she has fallen, as I
do, you would think differently, Captain Blessington," returned the
governor. "That mysterious being," he pursued, after a short pause,
"would never have made this parade of his conquest, had it related
merely to a few lives, which to him are of utter insignificance. The
very substitution of yon black flag, in his insolent triumph, was the
pledge of redemption of a threat breathed in my ear within this very
fort: on what occasion I need not state, since the events connected
with that unhappy night are still fresh in the recollections of us all.
That he is my personal enemy, gentlemen, it would be vain to disguise
from you; although who he is, or of what nature his enmity, it imports
not now to enter upon Suffice it, I have little doubt my children are
in his power; but whether the black flag indicates they are no more, or
that the tragedy is only in preparation, I confess I am at a loss to

Deeply affected by the evident despondency that had dictated these
unusual admissions on the part of their chief, the officers were
forward to combat the inferences he had drawn: several coinciding in
the opinion now expressed by Captain Wentworth, that the fact of the
schooner having fallen into the hands of the savages by no means
implied the capture of the fort whence she came; since it was not at
all unlikely she had been chased during a calm by the numerous canoes
into the Sinclair, where, owing to the extreme narrowness of the river,
she had fallen an easy prey.

"Moreover," observed Captain Blessington, "it is highly improbable the
ferocious warrior could have succeeded in capturing any others than the
unfortunate crew of the schooner; for had this been the case, he would
not have lost the opportunity of crowning his triumph by exhibiting his
victims to our view in some conspicuous part of the vessel."

"This, I grant you," rejoined the governor, "to be one solitary
circumstance in our favour; but may it not, after all, merely prove
that our worst apprehensions are already realised?"

"He is not one, methinks, since vengeance seems his aim, to exercise it
in so summary, and therefore merciful, a manner. Depend upon it,
colonel, had any of those in whom we are more immediately interested,
fallen into his hands, he would not have failed to insult and agonize
us by an exhibition of his prisoners."

"You are right, Blessington," exclaimed Charles de Haldimar, in a voice
that his choking feelings rendered almost sepulchral; "he is not one to
exercise his vengeance in a summary, and merciful manner. The deed is
yet unaccomplished, for even now the curse of Ellen Halloway rings
again in my ear, and tells me the atoning blood must be spilt on the
grave of her husband."

The peculiar tone in which these words were uttered, caused every one
present to turn and regard the speaker, for they recalled the prophetic
language of the unhappy woman. There was now a wildness of expression
in his handsome features, marking the mind utterly dead to hope, yet
struggling to work itself up to passive endurance of the worst. Colonel
de Haldimar sighed painfully, as he bent his eye half reproachfully on
the dull and attenuated features of his son; and although he spoke not,
his look betrayed the anguish that allusion had called up to his heart.

"Forgive me, my father," exclaimed the youth, grasping a hand that was
reluctantly extended. "I meant it not in unkindness; but indeed I have
ever had the conviction strongly impressed on my spirit. I know I
appear weak, childish, unsoldierlike; yet can it be wondered at, when I
have been so often latterly deceived by false hopes, that now my heart
has room for no other tenant than despair. I am very wretched," he
pursued, with affecting despondency; "in the presence of my companions
do I admit it, but they all know how I loved my sister. Can they then
feel surprise, that having lost not only her, but my brother and my
friend, I should be the miserable thing I am."

Colonel de Haldimar turned away, much affected; and throwing his back
against the sentry box near him, passed his hand over his eyes, and
remained for a few moments motionless.

"Charles, Charles, is this your promise to me?" whispered Captain
Blessington, as he approached and took the hand of his unhappy friend.
"Is this the self-command you pledged yourself to exercise? For
Heaven's sake, agitate not your father thus, by the indulgence of a
grief that can have no other tendency than to render him equally
wretched. Be advised by me, and quit the rampart. Return to your guard,
and endeavour to compose yourself."

"Ha! what new movement is that on the part of the savages?" exclaimed
Captain Erskine, who had kept his glass to his eye mechanically, and
chiefly with a view of hiding the emotion produced in him by the almost
infantine despair of the younger De Haldimar: "surely it is--yet, no,
it cannot be--yes, see how they are dragging several prisoners from the
wood to the beach. I can distinctly see a man in a blanket coat, and
two others considerably taller, and apparently sailors. But look,
behind them are two females in European dress. Almighty Heaven! there
can be no doubt."

A painful pause ensued. Every other glass and eye was levelled in the
same direction; and, even as Erskine had described it, a party of
Indians were seen, by those who had the telescopes, conducting five
prisoners towards a canoe that lay in the channel communicating from
the island with the main land on the Detroit shore. Into the bottom of
these they were presently huddled, so that only their heads and
shoulders were visible above the gunwale of the frail bark. Presently a
tall warrior was seen bounding from the wood towards the beach. The
crowd of gesticulating Indians made way, and the warrior was seen to
stoop and apply his shoulder to the canoe, one half of which was high
and dry upon the sands. The heavily laden vessel obeyed the impetus
with a rapidity that proved the muscular power of him who gave it. Like
some wild animal, instinct with life, it lashed the foaming waters from
its bows, and left a deep and gurgling furrow where it passed. As it
quitted the shore, the warrior sprang lightly in, taking his station at
the stern; and while his tall and remarkable figure bent nimbly to the
movement, he dashed his paddle from right to left alternately in the
stream, with a quickness that rendered it almost invisible to the eye.
Presently the canoe disappeared round an intervening headland, and the
officers lost sight of it altogether.

"The portrait, Charles; what have you done with the portrait?"
exclaimed Captain Blessington, actuated by a sudden recollection, and
with a trepidation in his voice and manner that spoke volumes of
despair to the younger De Haldimar. "This is our only hope of solving
the mystery. Quick, give me the portrait, if you have it."

The young officer hurriedly tore the miniature from the breast of his
uniform, and pitched it through the interval that separated him from
his captain, who stood a few feet off; but with so uncertain and
trembling an aim, it missed the hand extended to secure it, and fell
upon the very stone the youth had formerly pointed out to Blessington,
as marking the particular spot on which he stood during the execution
of Halloway. The violence of the fall separated the back of the frame
from the picture itself, when suddenly a piece of white and crumpled
paper, apparently part of the back of a letter, yet cut to the size and
shape of the miniature, was exhibited to the view of all.

"Ha!" resumed the gratified Blessington, as he stooped to possess
himself of the prize; "I knew the miniature would be found to contain
some intelligence from our friends. It is only this moment it occurred
to me to take it to pieces, but accident has anticipated my purpose.
May the omen prove a good one! But what have we here?"

With some difficulty, the anxious officer now succeeded in making out
the characters, which, in default of pen or pencil, had been formed by
the pricking of a fine pin on the paper. The broken sentences, on which
the whole of the group now hung with greedy ear, ran nearly as
follows:--"All is lost. Michilimackinac is taken. We are prisoners, and
doomed to die within eight and forty hours. Alas! Clara and Madeline
are of our number. Still there is a hope, if my father deem it prudent
to incur the risk. A surprise, well managed, may do much; but it must
be tomorrow night; forty-eight hours more, and it will be of no avail.
He who will deliver this is our friend, and the enemy of my father's
enemy. He will be in the same spot at the same hour to-morrow night,
and will conduct the detachment to wherever we may chance to be. If you
fail in your enterprise, receive our last prayers for a less disastrous
fate. God bless you all!"

The blood ran coldly through every vein during the perusal of these
important sentences, but not one word of comment was offered by an
individual of the group. No explanation was necessary. The captives in
the canoe, the tall warrior in its stern, all sufficiently betrayed the
horrible truth.

Colonel de Haldimar at length turned an enquiring look at his two
captains, and then addressing the adjutant, asked--

"What companies are off duty to-day, Mr. Lawson?"

"Mine," said Blessington, with an energy that denoted how deeply
rejoiced he felt at the fact, and without giving the adjutant time to

"And mine," impetuously added Captain Erskine; "and, by G--! I will
answer for them; they never embarked on a duty of the sort with greater
zeal than they will on this occasion."

"Gentlemen, I thank you," said Colonel de Haldimar, with deep emotion,
as he stepped forward and grasped in turn the hands of the
generous-hearted officers. "To Heaven, and to your exertions, do I
commit my children."

"Any artillery, colonel?" enquired the officer of that corps.

"No, Wentworth, no artillery. Whatever remains to be done, must be
achieved by the bayonet alone, and under favour of the darkness.
Gentlemen, again I thank you for this generous interest in my
children--this forwardness in an enterprise on which depend the lives
of so many dear friends. I am not one given to express warm emotion,
but I do, indeed, appreciate this conduct deeply." He then moved away,
desiring Mr. Lawson, as he quitted the rampart, to cause the men for
this service to be got in instant readiness.

Following the example of their colonel, Captains Blessington and
Erskine quitted the rampart also, hastening to satisfy themselves by
personal inspection of the efficiency in all respects of their several
companies; and in a few minutes, the only individual to be seen in that
quarter of the works was the sentinel, who had been a silent and pained
witness of all that had passed among his officers.


Doubtless, many of our readers are prepared to expect that the doom of
the unfortunate Frank Halloway was, as an officer of his regiment had
already hinted, the fruit of some personal pique and concealed motive
of vengeance; and that the denouement of our melancholy story will
afford evidence of the governor's knowledge of the true character of
him, who, under an assumed name, excited such general interest at his
trial and death, not only among his military superiors, but those with
whom his adverse destiny had more immediately associated him. It has
already been urged to us, by one or two of our critical friends to whom
we have submitted what has been thus far written in our tale, that, to
explain satisfactorily and consistently the extreme severity of the
governor, some secret and personally influencing motive must be
assigned; but to these we have intimated, what we now repeat,--namely,
that we hope to bear out our story, by natural explanation and simple
deduction. Who Frank Halloway really was, or what the connection
existing between him and the mysterious enemy of the family of De
Haldimar, the sequel of our narrative will show; but whatever its
nature, and however well founded the apprehension of the governor of
the formidable being hitherto known as the warrior of the Fleur de lis,
and however strong his conviction that the devoted Halloway and his
enemy were in secret correspondence, certain it is, that, to the very
hour of the death of the former, he knew him as no other than the
simple private soldier.

To have ascribed to Colonel de Haldimar motives that would have induced
his eagerly seeking the condemnation of an innocent man, either to
gratify a thirst of vengeance, or to secure immunity against personal
danger, would have been to have painted him, not only as a villain, but
a coward. Colonel de Haldimar was neither; but, on the contrary, what
is understood in worldly parlance and the generally received
acceptation of the terms, a man of strict integrity and honour, as well
as of the most undisputed courage. Still, he was a severe and a haughty
man,--one whose military education had been based on the principles of
the old school--and to whom the command of a regiment afforded a field
for the exercise of an orthodox despotism, that could not be passed
over without the immolation of many a victim on its rugged surface.
Without ever having possessed any thing like acute feeling, his heart,
as nature had formed it, was moulded to receive the ordinary
impressions of humanity; and had he been doomed to move in the sphere
of private life, if he had not been distinguished by any remarkable
sensibilities, he would not, in all probability, have been conspicuous
for any extraordinary cruelties. Sent into the army, however, at an
early age, and with a blood not remarkable for its mercurial aptitudes,
he had calmly and deliberately imbibed all the starched theories and
standard prejudices which a mind by no means naturally gifted was but
too well predisposed to receive; and he was among the number of those
(many of whom are indigenous to our soil even at the present day) who
look down from a rank obtained, upon that which has been just quitted,
with a contempt, and coldness, and consciousness of elevation,
commensurate only with the respect paid to those still above them, and
which it belongs only to the little-minded to indulge in.

As a subaltern, M. de Haldimar had ever been considered a pattern of
rigid propriety and decorum of conduct. Not the shadow of military
crime had ever been laid to his charge. He was punctual at all parades
and drills; kept the company to which he was attached in a perfect hot
water of discipline; never missed his distance in marching past, or
failed in a military manoeuvre; paid his mess-bill regularly to the
hour, nay, minute, of the settling day; and was never, on any one
occasion, known to enter the paymaster's office, except on the
well-remembered 24th of each month; and, to crown all, he had never
asked, consequently never obtained, a day's leave from his regiment,
although he had served in it so long, that there was now but one man
living who had entered it with him. With all these qualities, Ensign de
Haldimar promised to make an excellent soldier; and, as such, was
encouraged by the field-officers of the corps, who unhesitatingly
pronounced him a lad of discernment and talent, who would one day rival
them in all the glorious privileges of martinetism. It was even
remarked, as an evidence of his worth, that, when promoted to a
lieutenancy, he looked down upon the ensigns with that becoming
condescension which befitted his new rank; and up to the captains with
the deferential respect he felt to be due to that third step in the
five-barred gate of regimental promotion, on which his aspiring but
chained foot had not yet succeeded in reposing. What, therefore, he
became when he had succeeded in clambering to the top, and looked down
from the lordly height he had after many years of plodding service
obtained, we must leave it to the imaginations of our readers to
determine. We reserve it to a future page, to relate more interesting

Sufficient has been shown, however, from this outline of his character,
as well as from the conversations among his officers, elsewhere
transcribed, to account for the governor's conduct in the case of
Halloway. That the recommendation of his son, Captain de Haldimar, had
not been attended to, arose not from any particular ill-will towards
the unhappy man, but simply because he had always been in the habit of
making his own selections from the ranks, and that the present
recommendation had been warmly urged by one who he fancied pretended to
a discrimination superior to his own, in pointing out merits that had
escaped his observation. It might be, too, that there was a latent
pride about the manner of Halloway that displeased and dissatisfied one
who looked upon his subordinates as things that were amenable to the
haughtiness of his glance,--not enough of deference in his demeanour,
or of supplicating obsequiousness in his speech, to entitle him to the
promotion prayed for. Whatever the motive, there was nothing of
personality to influence him in the rejection of the appeal made in
favour of one who had never injured him; but who, on the contrary, as
the whole of the regiment could attest, had saved the life of his son.

Rigid disciplinarian as he was, and holding himself responsible for the
safety of the garrison it was but natural, when the discovery had been
made of the unaccountable unfastening of the gate of the fort,
suspicion of no ordinary kind should attach to the sentinel posted
there; and that he should steadily refuse all credence to a story
wearing so much appearance of improbability. Proud, and inflexible, and
bigoted to first impressions, his mind was closed against those
palliating circumstances, which, adduced by Halloway in his defence,
had so mainly contributed to stamp the conviction of his moral
innocence on the minds of his judges and the attentive auditory; and
could he even have conquered his pride so far as to have admitted the
belief of that innocence, still the military crime of which he had been
guilty, in infringing a positive order of the garrison, was in itself
sufficient to call forth all the unrelenting severity of his nature.
Throughout the whole of the proceedings subsequently instituted, he had
acted and spoken from a perfect conviction of the treason of the
unfortunate soldier, and with the fullest impression of the falsehood
of all that had been offered in his defence. The considerations that
influenced the minds of his officers, found no entrance into his proud
breast, which was closed against every thing but his own dignified
sense of superior judgment. Could he, like them, have given credence to
the tale of Halloway, or really have believed that Captain de Haldimar,
educated under his own military eye, could have been so wanting in
subordination, as not merely to have infringed a positive order of the
garrison, but to have made a private soldier of that garrison accessary
to his delinquency, it is more than probable his stern habits of
military discipline would have caused him to overlook the offence of
the soldier, in deeper indignation at the conduct of the infinitely
more culpable officer; but not one word did he credit of a statement,
which he assumed to have been got up by the prisoner with the mere view
of shielding himself from punishment: and when to these suspicions of
his fidelity was attached the fact of the introduction of his alarming
visitor, it must be confessed his motives for indulging in this belief
were not without foundation.

The impatience manifested during the trial of Halloway was not a result
of any desire of systematic persecution, but of a sense of wounded
dignity. It was a thing unheard of, and unpardonable in his eyes, for a
private soldier to assert, in his presence, his honour and his
respectability in extenuation, even while admitting the justice of a
specific charge; and when he remarked the Court listening with that
profound attention, which the peculiar history of the prisoner had
excited, he could not repress the manifestation of his anger. In
justice to him, however, it must be acknowledged that, in causing the
charge, to which the unfortunate man pleaded guilty, to be framed, he
had only acted from the conviction that, on the two first, there was
not sufficient evidence to condemn one whose crime was as clearly
established, to his judgment, as if he had been an eye-witness of the
treason. It is true, he availed himself of Halloway's voluntary
confession, to effect his condemnation; but estimating him as a
traitor, he felt little delicacy was necessary to be observed on that

Much of the despotic military character of Colonel de Haldimar had been
communicated to his private life; so much, indeed, that his sons,--both
of whom, it has been seen, were of natures that belied their origin
from so stern a stock,--were kept at nearly as great a distance from
him as any other subordinates of his regiment. But although he seldom
indulged in manifestations of parental regard towards those whom he
looked upon rather as inferiors in military rank, than as beings
connected with him by the ties of blood, Colonel de Haldimar was not
without that instinctive love for his children, which every animal in
the creation feels for its offspring. He, also, valued and took a pride
in, because they reflected a certain degree of lustre upon himself, the
talents and accomplishments of his eldest son, who, moreover, was a
brave, enterprising officer, and, only wanted, in his father's
estimation, that severity of carriage and hauteur of deportment,
befitting HIS son, to render him perfect. As for Charles,--the gentle,
bland, winning, universally conciliating Charles,--he looked upon him
as a mere weak boy, who could never hope to arrive at any post of
distinction, if only by reason of the extreme delicacy of his physical
organisation; and to have shown any thing like respect for his
character, or indulged in any expression of tenderness for one so far
below his estimate of what a soldier, a child of his, ought to be,
would have been a concession of which his proud nature was incapable.
In his daughter Clara, however, the gentleness of sex claimed that
warmer affection which was denied to him, who resembled her in almost
every attribute of mind and person. Colonel de Haldimar doated on his
daughter with a tenderness, for which few, who were familiar with his
harsh and unbending nature, ever gave him credit. She was the image of
one on whom all of love that he had ever known had been centered; and
he had continued in Clara an affection, that seemed in itself to form a
portion, distinct and apart, of his existence.

We have already seen, as stated by Charles de Haldimar to the
unfortunate wife of Halloway, with what little success he had pleaded
in the interview he had requested of his father, for the preserver of
his gallant brother's life; and we have also seen how equally
inefficient was the lowly and supplicating anguish of that wretched
being, when, on quitting the apartment of his son, Colonel de Haldimar
had so unexpectedly found himself clasped in her despairing embrace.
There was little to be expected from an intercession on the part of one
claiming so little ascendancy over his father's heart, as the
universally esteemed young officer; still less from one who, in her
shriek of agony, had exposed the haughty chief to the observation both
of men and officers, and under circumstances that caused his position
to border on the ludicrous. But however these considerations might have
failed in effect, there was another which, as a soldier, he could not
wholly overlook. Although he had offered no comment on the
extraordinary recommendation to mercy annexed to the sentence of the
prisoner, it had had a certain weight with him; and he felt, all
absolute even as he was, he could not, without exciting strong
dissatisfaction among his troops, refuse attention to a document so
powerfully worded, and bearing the signature and approval of so old and
valued an officer as Captain Blessington. His determination, therefore,
had been formed, even before his visit to his son, to act as
circumstances might require; and, in the mean while, he commanded every
preparation for the execution to be made.

In causing a strong detachment to be marched to the conspicuous point
chosen for his purpose, he had acted from a conviction of the necessity
of showing the enemy the treason of the soldier had been detected;
reserving to himself the determination of carrying the sentence into
full effect, or pardoning the condemned, as the event might warrant.
Not one moment, meanwhile, did he doubt the guilt of Halloway, whose
description of the person of his enemy was, in itself, to him,
confirmatory evidence of his treason. It is doubtful whether he would,
in any way, have been influenced by the recommendation of the Court,
had the first charges been substantiated; but as there was nothing but
conjecture to bear out these, and as the prisoner had been convicted
only on the ground of suffering Captain de Haldimar to quit the fort
contrary to orders, he felt he might possibly go too far in carrying
the capital punishment into effect, in decided opposition to the
general feeling of the garrison,--both of officers and men.

When the shot was subsequently fired from the hut of the Canadian, and
the daring rifleman recognised as the same fearful individual who had
gained access to his apartment the preceding night, conviction of the
guilt of Halloway came even deeper home to the mind of the governor. It
was through Francois alone that a communication was kept up secretly
between the garrison and several of the Canadians without the fort; and
the very fact of the mysterious warrior having been there so recently
after his daring enterprise, bore evidence that whatever treason was in
operation, had been carried on through the instrumentality of mine host
of the Fleur de lis. In proof, moreover, there was the hat of Donellan,
and the very rope Halloway had stated to be that by which the
unfortunate officer had effected his exit. Colonel de Haldimar was not
one given to indulge in the mysterious or to believe in the romantic.
Every thing was plain matter of fact, as it now appeared before him;
and he thought it evident, as though it had been written in words of
fire, that if his son and his unfortunate servant had quitted the fort
in the manner represented, it was no less certain they had been forced
off by a party, at the head of whom was his vindictive enemy, and with
the connivance of Halloway. We have seen, that after the discovery of
the sex of the supposed drummer-boy when the prisoners were confronted
together, Colonel de Haldimar had closely watched the expression of
their countenances, but failed in discovering any thing that could be
traced into evidence of a guilty recognition. Still he conceived his
original impression to have been too forcibly borne out, even by the
events of the last half hour, to allow this to have much weight with
him; and his determination to carry the thing through all its fearful
preliminary stages became more and more confirmed.

In adopting this resolution in the first instance, he was not without a
hope that Halloway, standing, as he must feel himself to be, on the
verge of the grave, might be induced to make confession of his guilt,
and communicate whatever particulars might prove essential not only to
the safety of the garrison generally, but to himself individually, as
far as his personal enemy was concerned. With this view, he had charged
Captain Blessington, in the course of their march from the hut to the
fatal bridge, to promise a full pardon, provided he should make such
confession of his crime as would lead to a just appreciation of the
evils likely to result from the treason that had in part been
accomplished. Even in making this provision, however, which was met by
the prisoner with solemn yet dignified reiteration of his innocence,
Colonel de Haldimar had not made the refusal of pardon altogether
conclusive in his own mind: still, in adopting this plan, there was a
chance of obtaining a confession; and not until there was no longer a
prospect of the unhappy man being led into that confession, did he feel
it imperative on him to stay the progress of the tragedy.

What the result would have been, had not Halloway, in the strong
excitement of his feelings, sprung to his feet upon the coffin,
uttering the exclamation of triumph recorded in the last pages of our
first volume, is scarcely doubtful. However much the governor might
have contemned and slighted a credulity in which he in no way
participated himself, he had too much discrimination not to perceive,
that to have persevered in the capital punishment would have been to
have rendered himself personally obnoxious to the comrades of the
condemned, whose dispirited air and sullen mien, he clearly saw,
denounced the punishment as one of unnecessary rigour. The haughty
commander was not one to be intimidated by manifestations of
discontent; neither was he one to brook a spirit of insubordination,
however forcibly supported; but he had too much experience and military
judgment, not to determine that this was riot a moment, by foregoing an
act of compulsory clemency, to instil divisions in the garrison, when
the safety of all so much depended on the cheerfulness and unanimity
with which they lent themselves to the arduous duties of defence.

However originating in policy, the lenity he might have been induced to
have shown, all idea of the kind was chased from his mind by the
unfortunate action of the prisoner. At the moment when the distant
heights resounded with the fierce yells of the savages, and leaping
forms came bounding down the slope, the remarkable warrior of the Fleur
de lis--the fearful enemy who had whispered the most demoniac vengeance
in his ears the preceding night--was the only one that met and riveted
the gaze of the governor. He paused not to observe or to think who the
flying man could be of whom the mysterious warrior was in
pursuit,--neither did it, indeed, occur to him that it was a pursuit at
all. But one idea suggested itself to his mind, and that was an attempt
at rescue of the condemned on the part of his accomplice; and when at
length Halloway, who had at once, as if by instinct, recognised his
captain in the fugitive, shouted forth his gratitude to Heaven that "he
at length approached who alone had the power to save him," every shadow
of mercy was banished from the mind of the governor, who, labouring
under a natural misconception of the causes of his exulting shout, felt
that justice imperatively demanded her victim, and no longer hesitated
in awarding the doom that became the supposed traitor. It was under
this impression that he sternly gave and repeated the fatal order to
fire; and by this misjudged and severe, although not absolutely cruel
act, not only destroyed one of the noblest beings that ever wore a
soldier's uniform, but entailed upon himself and family that terrific
curse of his maniac wife, which rang like a prophetic warning in the
ears of all, and was often heard in the fitful starlings of his own
ever-after troubled slumbers.

What his feelings were, when subsequently he discovered, in the
wretched fugitive, the son whom he already believed to have been
numbered with the dead, and heard from his lips a confirmation of all
that had been advanced by the unhappy Halloway, we shall leave it to
our readers to imagine. Still, even amid his first regret, the rigid
disciplinarian was strong within him; and no sooner had the detachment
regained the fort, after performing the last offices of interment over
their ill-fated comrade, than Captain de Haldimar received an
intimation, through the adjutant, to consider himself under close
arrest for disobedience of orders. Finally, however, he succeeded in
procuring an interview with his father; in the course of which,
disclosing the plot of the Indians, and the short period allotted for
its being carried into execution, he painted in the most gloomy colours
the alarming, dangers which threatened them all, and finished by
urgently imploring his father to suffer him to make the attempt to
reach their unsuspecting friends at Michilimackinac. Fully impressed
with the difficulties attendant on a scheme that offered so few
feasible chances of success, Colonel de Haldimar for a period denied
his concurrence; but when at length the excited young man dwelt on the
horrors that would inevitably await his sister and betrothed cousin,
were they to fall into the hands of the savages, these considerations
were found to be effective. An after-arrangement included Sir Everard
Valletort, who had expressed a strong desire to share his danger in the
enterprise; and the services of the Canadian, who had been brought back
a prisoner to the fort, and on whom promises and threats were bestowed
in an equally lavish manner, were rendered available. In fact, without
the assistance of Francois, there was little chance of their effecting
in safety the navigation of the waters through which they were to pass
to arrive at the fort. He it was, who, when summoned to attend a
conference among the officers, bearing on the means to be adopted,
suggested the propriety of their disguising themselves as Canadian duck
hunters; in which character they might expect to pass unmolested, even
if encountered by any outlying parties of the savages. With the doubts
that had previously been entertained of the fidelity of Francois, there
was an air of forlorn hope given to the enterprise; still, as the man
expressed sincere earnestness of desire to repay the clemency accorded
him, by a faithful exercise of his services, and as the object sought
was one that justified the risk, there was, notwithstanding, a latent
hope cherished by all parties, that the event would prove successful.
We have already seen to what extent their anticipations were realised.

Whether it was that he secretly acknowledged the too excessive
sternness of his justice in regard to Halloway (who still, in the true
acceptation of facts, had been guilty of a crime that entailed the
penalty he had paid), or that the apprehensions that arose to his heart
in regard to her on whom he yearned with all a father's fondness
governed his conduct, certain it is, that, from the hour of the
disclosure made by his son, Colonel de Haldimar became an altered man.
Without losing any thing of that dignity of manner, which had hitherto
been confounded with the most repellent haughtiness of bearing, his
demeanour towards his officers became more courteous; and although, as
heretofore, he kept himself entirely aloof, except when occasions of
duty brought them together, still, when they did meet, there was more
of conciliation in his manner, and less of austerity in his speech.
There was, moreover, a dejection in his eye, strongly in contrast with
his former imperious glance; and more than one officer remarked, that,
if his days were devoted to the customary practical arrangements for
defence, his pallid countenance betokened that his nights were nights
rather of vigil than of repose.

However natural and deep the alarm entertained for the fate of the
sister fort, there could be no apprehension on the mind of Colonel de
Haldimar in regard to his own; since, furnished with the means of
foiling his enemies with their own weapons of cunning and deceit, a few
extraordinary precautions alone were necessary to secure all immunity
from danger. Whatever might be the stern peculiarities of his
character,--and these had originated chiefly in an education purely
military,--Colonel de Haldimar was an officer well calculated to the
important trust reposed in him; for, combining experience with judgment
in all matters relating to the diplomacy of war, and being fully
conversant with the character and habits of the enemy opposed to him,
he possessed singular aptitude to seize whatever advantages might
present themselves.

The prudence and caution of his policy have already been made manifest
in the two several council scenes with the chiefs recorded in our
second volume. It may appear singular, that, with the opportunity thus
afforded him of retaining the formidable Ponteac,--the strength and
sinew of that long protracted and ferocious war,--in his power, he
should have waved his advantage; but here Colonel de Haldimar gave
evidence of the tact which so eminently distinguished his public
conduct throughout. He well knew the noble, fearless character of the
chief; and felt, if any hold was to be secured over him, it was by
grappling with his generosity, and not by the exercise of intimidation.
Even admitting that Ponteac continued his prisoner, and that the
troops, pouring their destructive fire upon the mass of enemies so
suddenly arrested on the drawbridge, had swept away the whole, still
they were but as a mite among the numerous nations that were leagued
against the English; and to these nations, it was evident, they must,
sooner or later, succumb.

Colonel de Haldimar knew enough of the proud but generous nature of the
Ottawa, to deem that the policy he proposed to pursue in the last
council scene would not prove altogether without effect on that
warrior. It was well known to him, that much pains had been taken to
instil into the minds of the Indians the belief that the English were
resolved on their final extirpation; and as certain slights, offered to
them at various periods, had given a colouring of truth to this
assertion, the formidable league which had already accomplished the
downfall of so many of the forts had been the consequence of these
artful representations. Although well aware that the French had
numerous emissaries distributed among the fierce tribes, it was not
until after the disclosure made by the haughty Ponteac, at the close of
the first council scene, that he became apprised of the alarming
influence exercised over the mind of that warrior himself by his own
terrible and vindictive enemy. The necessity of counteracting that
influence was obvious; and he felt this was only to be done (if at all)
by some marked and extraordinary evidence of the peaceful disposition
of the English. Hence his determination to suffer the faithless chiefs
and their followers to depart unharmed from the fort, even at the
moment when the attitude assumed by the prepared garrison fully proved
to the assailants their designs had been penetrated and their schemes
rendered abortive.


With the general position of the encampment of the investing Indians,
the reader has been made acquainted through the narrative of Captain de
Haldimar. It was, as has been shown, situate in a sort of oasis close
within the verge of the forest, and (girt by an intervening underwood
which Nature, in her caprice, had fashioned after the manner of a
defensive barrier) embraced a space sufficient to contain the tents of
the fighting men, together with their women and children. This,
however, included only the warriors and inferior chiefs. The tents of
the leaders were without the belt of underwood, and principally
distributed at long intervals on that side of the forest which skirted
the open country towards the river; forming, as it were, a chain of
external defences, and sweeping in a semicircular direction round the
more dense encampment of their followers. At its highest elevation the
forest shot out suddenly into a point, naturally enough rendered an
object of attraction from whatever part it was commanded.

Darkness was already beginning to spread her mantle over the
intervening space, and the night fires of the Indians were kindling
into brightness, glimmering occasionally through the wood with that
pale and lambent light peculiar to the fire-fly, of which they offered
a not inapt representation, when suddenly a lofty tent, the brilliant
whiteness of which was thrown into strong relief by the dark field on
which it reposed, was seen to rise at a few paces from the abrupt point
in the forest just described, and on the extreme summit of a ridge,
beyond which lay only the western horizon in golden perspective.

The opening of this tent looked eastward and towards the fort; and on
its extreme summit floated a dark flag, which at intervals spread
itself before the slight evening breeze, but oftener hung drooping and
heavily over the glittering canvass. One solitary pine, whose trunk
exceeded not the ordinary thickness of a man's waist, and standing out
as a landmark on the ridge, rose at the distance of a few feet from the
spot on which the tent had been erected; and to this was bound the tall
and elegant figure of one dressed in the coarse garb of a sailor. The
arms and legs of this individual were perfectly free; but a strong
rope, rendered doubly secure after the manner of what is termed
"whipping" among seamen, after having been tightly drawn several times
around his waist, and then firmly knotted behind, was again passed
round the tree, to which the back of the prisoner was closely lashed;
thus enabling, or rather compelling, him to be a spectator of every
object within the tent.

Layers of bark, over which were spread the dressed skins of the bear
and the buffalo, formed the floor and carpet of the latter; and on
these, in various parts, and in characteristic attitudes, reposed the
forms of three human beings;--one, the formidable warrior of the Fleur
de lis. Attired in the garb in which we first introduced him to our
readers, and with the same weapons reposing at his side, the haughty
savage lay at his lazy length; his feet reaching beyond the opening of
the tent, and his head reposing on a rude pillow formed of a closely
compressed pack of skins of wild animals, over which was spread a sort
of mantle or blanket. One hand was introduced between the pillow and
his head, the other grasped the pipe tomahawk he was smoking; and while
the mechanical play of his right foot indicated pre-occupation of
thought, his quick and meaning eye glanced frequently and alternately
upon the furthest of his companions, the prisoner without, and the
distant fort.

Within a few feet of the warrior lay, extended on a buffalo skin, the
delicate figure of a female, whose hair, complexion, and hands, denoted
her European extraction. Her dress was entirely Indian, however;
consisting of a machecoti with leggings, mocassins, and shirt of
printed cotton studded with silver brooches,--all of which were of a
quality and texture to mark the wearer as the wife of a chief; and her
fair hair, done up in a club behind, reposed on a neck of dazzling
whiteness. Her eyes were large, blue, but wild and unmeaning; her
countenance vacant; and her movements altogether mechanical. A wooden
bowl filled with hominy,--a preparation of Indian corn,--was at her
side; and from this she was now in the act of feeding herself with a
spoon of the same material, but with a negligence and slovenliness that
betrayed her almost utter unconsciousness of the action.

At the further side of the tent there was another woman, even more
delicate in appearance than the one last mentioned. She, too, was
blue-eyed, and of surpassing fairness of skin. Her attitude denoted a
mind too powerfully absorbed in grief to be heedful of appearances; for
she sat with her knees drawn up to her chin, and rocking her body to
and fro with an undulating motion that seemed to have its origin in no
effort of volition of her own. Her long fair hair hung negligently over
her shoulders; and a blanket drawn over the top of her head like a
veil, and extending partly over the person, disclosed here and there
portions of an apparel which was strictly European, although rent, and
exhibiting in various places stains of blood. A bowl similar to that of
her companion, and filled with the same food, was at her side; but this
was untasted.

"Why does the girl refuse to eat?" asked the warrior of her next him,
as he fiercely rolled a volume of smoke from his lips. "Make her eat,
for I would speak to her afterwards."

"Why does the girl refuse to eat?" responded the woman in the same
tone, dropping her spoon as she spoke, and turning to the object of
remark with a vacant look. "It is good," she pursued, as she rudely
shook the arm of the heedless sufferer. "Come, girl, eat."

A shriek burst from the lips of the unhappy girl, as, apparently roused
from her abstraction, she suffered the blanket to fall from her head,
and staring wildly at her questioner, faintly demanded,--

"Who, in the name of mercy, are you, who address me in this horrid
place in my own tongue? Speak; who are you? Surely I should know that
voice for that of Ellen, the wife of Frank Halloway!"

A maniac laugh was uttered by the wretched woman. This continued
offensively for a moment; and she observed, in an infuriated tone and
with a searching eye,--"No, I am not the wife of Halloway. It is false.
I am the wife of Wacousta. This is my husband!" and as she spoke she
sprang nimbly to her feet, and was in the next instant lying prostrate
on the form of the warrior; her arms thrown wildly around him, and her
lips imprinting kisses on his cheek.

But Wacousta was in no mood to suffer her endearments. He for the first
time seemed alive to the presence of her who lay beyond, and, to whose
whole appearance a character of animation had been imparted by the
temporary excitement of her feelings. He gazed at her a moment, with
the air of one endeavouring to recall the memory of days long gone by;
and as he continued to do so, his eye dilated, his chest heaved, and
his countenance alternately flushed and paled. At length he threw the
form that reposed upon his own, violently, and even savagely, from him;
sprang eagerly to his feet; and clearing the space that divided him
from the object of his attention at a single step, bore her from the
earth in his arms with as much ease as if she had been an infant, and
then returning to his own rude couch, placed his horror-stricken victim
at his side.

"Nay, nay," he urged sarcastically, as she vainly struggled to free
herself; "let the De Haldimar portion of your blood rise up in anger if
it will; but that of Clara Beverley, at least--."

"Gracious Providence! where am I, that I hear the name of my sainted
mother thus familiarly pronounced?" interrupted the startled girl; "and
who are you,"--turning her eyes wildly on the swarthy countenance of
the warrior,--"who are you, I ask, who, with the mien and in the garb
of a savage of these forests, appear thus acquainted with her name?"

The warrior passed his hand across his brow for a moment, as if some
painful and intolerable reflection had been called up by the question;
but he speedily recovered his self-possession, and, with an expression
of feature that almost petrified his auditor, vehemently observed,--

"You ask who I am! One who knew your mother long before the accursed
name of De Haldimar had even been whispered in her ear; and whom love
for the one and hatred for the other has rendered the savage you now
behold! But," he continued, while a fierce and hideous smile lighted up
every feature, "I overlook my past sufferings in my present happiness.
The image of Clara Beverley, even such as my soul loved her in its
youth, is once more before me in her child; THAT child shall be my

"Your wife! monster;--never!" shrieked the unhappy girl, again vainly
attempting to disengage herself from the encircling arm of the savage.
"But," she pursued, in a tone of supplication, while the tears coursed
each other down her cheek, "if you ever loved my mother as you say you
have, restore her children to their home; and, if saints may be
permitted to look down from heaven in approval of the acts of men, she
whom you have loved will bless you for the deed."

A deep groan burst from the vast chest of Wacousta; but, for a moment,
he answered not. At length he observed, pointing at the same time with
his finger towards the cloudless vault above their heads,--"Do you
behold yon blue sky, Clara de Haldimar?"

"I do;--what mean you?" demanded the trembling girl, in whom a
momentary hope had been excited by the subdued manner of the savage.

"Nothing," he coolly rejoined; "only that were your mother to appear
there at this moment, clad in all the attributes ascribed to angels,
her prayer would not alter the destiny that awaits you. Nay, nay; look
not thus sorrowfully," he pursued, as, in despite of her efforts to
prevent him, he imprinted a burning kiss upon her lips. "Even thus was
I once wont to linger on the lips of your mother; but hers ever pouted
to be pressed by mine; and not with tears, but with sunniest smiles,
did she court them." He paused; bent his head over the face of the
shuddering girl; and gazing fixedly for a few minutes on her
countenance, while he pressed her struggling form more closely to his
own, exultingly pursued, as if to himself,--"Even as her mother was, so
is she. Ye powers of hell! who would have ever thought a time would
come when both my vengeance and my love would be gratified to the
utmost? How strange it never should have occurred to me he had a

"What mean you, fierce, unpitying man?" exclaimed the terrified Clara,
to whom a full sense of the horror of her position had lent unusual
energy of character. "Surely you will not detain a poor defenceless
woman in your hands,--the child of her you say you have loved. But it
is false!--you never knew her, or you would not now reject my prayer."

"Never knew her!" fiercely repeated Wacousta. Again he paused. "Would I
had never known her! and I should not now be the outcast wretch I am,"
he added, slowly and impressively. Then once more elevating his
voice,--"Clara de Haldimar, I have loved your mother as man never loved
woman; and I have hated your father" (grinding his teeth with fury as
he spoke) "as man never hated man. That love, that hatred are
unquenched--unquenchable. Before me I see at once the image of her who,
even in death, has lived enshrined in my heart, and the child of him
who is my bitterest foe. Clara de Haldimar, do you understand me now?"

"Almighty Providence! is there no one to save me?--can nothing touch
your stubborn heart?" exclaimed the affrighted girl; and she turned her
swimming eyes on those of the warrior, in appeal; but his glance caused
her own to sink in confusion. "Ellen Halloway," she pursued, after a
moment's pause, and in the wild accents of despair, "if you are indeed
the wife of this man, as you say you are, oh! plead for me with him;
and in the name of that kindness, which I once extended to yourself,
prevail on him to restore me to my father!"

"Ellen Halloway!--who calls Ellen Halloway?" said the wretched woman,
who had again resumed her slovenly meal on the rude couch, apparently
without consciousness of the scene enacting at her side. "I am not
Ellen Halloway: they said so; but it is not true. My husband was
Reginald Morton: but he went for a soldier, and was killed; and I never
saw him more."

"Reginald Morton! What mean you, woman?--What know you of Reginald
Morton?" demanded Wacousta, with frightful energy, as, leaning over the
shrinking form of Clara, he violently grasped and shook the shoulder of
the unhappy maniac.

"Stop; do not hurt me, and I will tell you all, sir," she almost
screamed. "Oh, sir, Reginald Morton was my husband once; but he was
kinder than you are. He did not look so fiercely at me; nor did he
pinch me so."

"What of him?--who was he?" furiously repeated Wacousta, as he again
impatiently shook the arm of the wretched Ellen. "Where did you know
him?--Whence came he?"

"Nay, you must not be jealous of poor Reginald:" and, as she uttered
these words in a softening and conciliating tone, her eye was turned
upon those of the warrior with a mingled expression of fear and
cunning. "But he was very good and very handsome, and generous; and we
lived near each other, and we loved each other at first sight. But his
family were very proud, and they quarrelled with him because he married
me; and then we became very poor, and Reginald went for a soldier,
and--; but I forget the rest, it is so long ago." She pressed her hand
to her brow, and sank her head upon her chest.

"Ellen, woman, again I ask you where he came from? this Reginald Morton
that you have named. To what county did he belong?"

"Oh, we were both Cornish," she answered, with a vivacity singularly in
contrast with her recent low and monotonous tone; "but, as I said
before, he was of a great family, and I only a poor clergyman's

"Cornish!--Cornish, did you say?" fiercely repeated the dark Wacousta,
while an expression of loathing and disgust seemed for a moment to
convulse his features; "then is it as I had feared. One word more. Was
the family seat called Morton Castle?"

"It was," unhesitatingly returned the poor woman, yet with the air of
one wondering to hear a name repeated, long forgotten even by herself.
"It was a beautiful castle too, on a lovely ridge of hills; and it
commanded such a nice view of the sea, close to the little port of
----; and the parsonage stood in such a sweet valley, close under the
castle; and we were all so happy." She paused, again put her hand to
her brow, and pressed it with force, as if endeavouring to pursue the
chain of connection in her memory, but evidently without success.

"And your father's name was Clayton?" said the warrior, enquiringly;
"Henry Clayton, if I recollect aright?"

"Ha! who names my father?" shrieked the wretched woman. "Yes, sir, it
was Clayton--Henry Clayton--the kindest, the noblest of human beings.
But the affliction of his child, and the persecutions of the Morton
family, broke his heart. He is dead, sir, and Reginald is dead too; and
I am a poor lone widow in the world, and have no one to love me." Here
the tears coursed each other rapidly down her faded cheek, although her
eyes were staring and motionless.

"It is false!" vociferated the warrior, who, now he had gained all that
was essential to the elucidation of his doubts, quitted the shoulder he
had continued to press with violence in his nervous hand, and once more
extended himself at his length; "in me you behold the uncle of your
husband. Yes, Ellen Clayton, you have been the wife of two Reginald
Mortons. Both," he pursued with unutterable bitterness, while he again
started up and shook his tomahawk menacingly in the direction of the
fort,--"both have been the victims of yon cold-blooded governor; but
the hour of our reckoning is at hand. Ellen," he fiercely added, "do
you recollect the curse you pronounced on the family of that haughty
man, when he slaughtered your Reginald. By Heaven! it shall be
fulfilled; but first shall the love I have so long borne the mother be
transferred to the child."

Again he sought to encircle the waist of her whom, in the strong
excitement of his rage, he had momentarily quitted; but the unutterable
disgust and horror produced in the mind of the unhappy Clara lent an
almost supernatural activity to her despair. She dexterously eluded his
grasp, gained her feet, and with tottering steps and outstretched arms
darted through the opening of the tent, and piteously exclaiming, "Save
me! oh, for God's sake, save me!" sank exhausted, and apparently
lifeless, on the chest of the prisoner without.

To such of our readers as, deceived by the romantic nature of the
attachment stated to have been originally entertained by Sir Everard
Valletort for the unseen sister of his friend, have been led to expect
a tale abounding in manifestations of its progress when the parties had
actually met, we at once announce disappointment. Neither the lover of
amorous adventure, nor the admirer of witty dialogue, should dive into
these pages. Room for the exercise of the invention might, it is true,
be found; but ours is a tale of sad reality, and our heroes and
heroines figure under circumstances that would render wit a satire upon
the understanding, and love a reflection upon the heart. Within the
bounds of probability have we, therefore, confined ourselves.

What the feelings of the young Baronet must have been, from the first
moment when he received from the hands of the unfortunate Captain
Baynton (who, although an officer of his own corps, was personally a
stranger to him,) that cherished sister of his friend, on whose ideal
form his excited imagination had so often latterly loved to linger, up
to the present hour, we should vainly attempt to paint. There are
emotions of the heart, it would be mockery in the pen to trace. From
the instant of his first contributing to preserve her life, on that
dreadful day of blood, to that when the schooner fell into the hands of
the savages, few words had passed between them, and these had reference
merely to the position in which they found themselves, and whenever Sir
Everard felt he could, without indelicacy or intrusion, render himself
in the slightest way serviceable to her. The very circumstances under
which they had met, conduced to the suppression, if not utter
extinction, of all of passion attached to the sentiment with which he
had been inspired. A new feeling had quickened in his breast; and it
was with emotions more assimilated to friendship than to love that he
now regarded the beautiful but sorrow-stricken sister of his bosom
friend. Still there was a softness, a purity, a delicacy and tenderness
in this new feeling, in which the influence of sex secretly though
unacknowledgedly predominated; and even while sensible it would have
been a profanation of every thing most sacred and delicate in nature to
have admitted a thought of love within his breast at such a moment, he
also felt he could have entertained a voluptuous joy in making any
sacrifice, even to the surrender of life itself, provided the
tranquillity of that gentle and suffering being could be by it ensured.

Clara, in her turn, had been in no condition to admit so exclusive a
power as that of love within her soul. She had, it is true, even amid
the desolation of her shattered spirit, recognised in the young officer
the original of a portrait so frequently drawn by her brother, and
dwelt on by herself. She acknowledged, moreover, the fidelity of the
painting: but however she might have felt and acted under different
circumstances, absorbed as was her heart, and paralysed her
imagination, by the harrowing scenes she had gone through, she, too,
had room but for one sentiment in her fainting soul, and that was
friendship for the friend of her brother; on whom, moreover, she
bestowed that woman's gratitude, which could not fail to be awakened by
a recollection of the risks he had encountered, conjointly with
Frederick, to save her from destruction. During their passage across
lake Huron, Sir Everard had usually taken his seat on the deck, at that
respectful distance which he conceived the delicacy of the position of
the unfortunate cousins demanded; but in such a manner that, while he
seemed wholly abstracted from them, his eye had more than once been
detected by Clara fixed on hers, with an affectionateness of interest
she could not avoid repaying with a glance of recognition and approval.
These, however, were the only indications of regard that had passed
between them.

If, however, a momentary and irrepressible flashing of that sentiment,
which had, at an earlier period, formed a portion of their imaginings,
did occasionally steal over their hearts while there was a prospect of
reaching their friends in safety, all manifestation of its power was
again finally suppressed when the schooner fell into the hands of the
savages. Become the immediate prisoners of Wacousta, they had been
surrendered to that ferocious chief to be dealt with as he might think
proper; and, on disembarking from the canoe in which their transit to
the main land had been descried that morning from the fort, had been
separated from their equally unfortunate and suffering companions.
Captain de Haldimar, Madeline, and the Canadian, were delivered over to
the custody of several choice warriors of the tribe in which Wacousta
was adopted; and, bound hand and foot, were, at that moment, in the war
tent of the fierce savage, which, as Ponteac had once boasted to the
governor, was every where hung around with human scalps, both of men,
of women, and of children. The object of this mysterious man, in
removing Clara to the spot we have described, was one well worthy of
his ferocious nature. His vengeance had already devoted her to
destruction; and it was within view of the fort, which contained the
father whom he loathed, he had resolved his purpose should be
accomplished. A refinement of cruelty, such as could scarcely have been
supposed to enter the breast even of such a remorseless savage as
himself, had caused him to convey to the same spot, him whom he rather
suspected than knew to be the lover of the young girl. It was with the
view of harrowing up the soul of one whom he had recognised as the
officer who had disabled him on the night of the rencontre on the
bridge, that he had bound Sir Everard to the tree, whence, as we have
already stated, he was a compelled spectator of every thing that passed
within the tent; and yet with that free action of limb which only
tended to tantalize him the more amid his unavailable efforts to rid
himself of his bonds,--a fact that proved not only the dire extent to
which the revenge of Wacousta could be carried, but the actual and
gratuitous cruelty of his nature.

One must have been similarly circumstanced, to understand all the agony
of the young man during this odious scene, and particularly at the
fierce and repeated declaration of the savage that Clara should be his
bride. More than once had he essayed to remove the ligatures which
confined his waist; but his unsuccessful attempts only drew an
occasional smile of derision from his enemy, as he glanced his eye
rapidly towards him. Conscious at length of the inutility of efforts,
which, without benefiting her for whom they were principally prompted,
rendered him in some degree ridiculous even in his own eyes, the
wretched Valletort desisted altogether, and with his head sunk upon his
chest, and his eyes closed, sought at least to shut out a scene which
blasted his sight, and harrowed up his very soul.

But when Clara, uttering her wild cry for protection, and rushing forth
from the tent, sank almost unconsciously in his embrace, a thrill of
inexplicable joy ran through each awakened fibre of his frame. Bending
eagerly forward, he had extended his arms to receive her; and when he
felt her light and graceful form pressing upon his own as its last
refuge--when he felt her heart beating against his--when he saw her
head drooping on his shoulder, in the wild recklessness of
despair,--even amid that scene of desolation and grief he could not
help enfolding her in tumultuous ecstasy to his breast. Every horrible
danger was for an instant forgotten in the soothing consciousness that
he at length encircled the form of her, whom in many an hour of
solitude he had thus pictured, although under far different
circumstances, reposing confidingly on him. There was delight mingled
with agony in his sensation of the wild throb of her bosom against his
own; and even while his soul fainted within him, as he reflected on the
fate that awaited her, he felt as if he could himself now die more

Momentary, however, was the duration of this scene. Furious with anger
at the evident disgust of his victim, Wacousta no sooner saw her sink
into the arms of her lover, than with that agility for which he was
remarkable he was again on his feet, and stood in the next instant at
her side. Uniting to the generous strength of his manhood all that was
wrung from his mingled love and despair, the officer clasped his hands
round the waist of the drooping Clara; and with clenched teeth, and
feet firmly set, seemed resolved to defy every effort of the warrior to
remove her. Not a word was uttered on either side; but in the fierce
smile that curled the lip of the savage, there spoke a language even
more terrible than the words that smile implied. Sir Everard could not
suppress an involuntary shudder; and when at length Wacousta, after a
short but violent struggle, succeeded in again securing and bearing off
his prize, the wretchedness of soul of the former was indescribable.

"You see 'tis vain to struggle against your destiny, Clara de
Haldimar," sneered the warrior. "Ours is but a rude nuptial couch, it
is true; but the wife of an Indian chief must not expect the luxuries
of Europe in the heart of an American wilderness."

"Almighty Heaven! where am I?" exclaimed the wretched girl, again
unclosing her eyes to all the horror of her position; for again she lay
at the side, and within the encircling arm, of her enemy. "Oh, Sir
Everard Valletort, I thought I was with you, and that you had saved me
from this monster. Where is my brother?--Where are Frederick and
Madeline?--Why have they deserted me?--Ah! my heart will break. I
cannot endure this longer, and live."

"Clara, Miss de Haldimar," groaned Sir Everard, in a voice of searching
agony; "could I lay down my life for you, I would; but you see these
bonds. Oh God! oh God! have pity on the innocent; and for once incline
the heart of yon fierce monster to the whisperings of mercy." As he
uttered the last sentence, he attempted to sink on his knees in
supplication to Him he addressed, but the tension of the cord prevented
him; yet were his hands clasped, and his eyes upraised to heaven, while
his countenance beamed with an expression of fervent enthusiasm.

"Peace, babbler! or, by Heaven! that prayer shall be your last,"
vociferated Wacousta. "But no," he pursued to himself, dropping at the
same time the point of his upraised tomahawk; "these are but the
natural writhings of the crushed worm; and the longer protracted they
are, the more complete will be my vengeance." Then turning to the
terrified girl,--"You ask, Clara de Haldimar, where you are? In the
tent of your mother's lover, I reply,--at the side of him who once
pressed her to his heart, even as I now press you, and with a fondness
that was only equalled by her own. Come, dear Clara," and his voice
assumed a tone of tenderness that was even more revolting than his
natural ferocity, "let me woo you to the affection she once possessed.
It was a heart of fire in which her image stood enshrined,--it is a
heart of fire still, and well worthy of her child."

"Never, never!" shrieked the agonised girl. "Kill me, murder me, if you
will; but oh! if you have pity, pollute not my ear with the avowal of
your detested love. But again I repeat, it is false that my mother ever
knew you. She never could have loved so fierce, so vindictive a being
as yourself."

"Ha! do you doubt me still?" sternly demanded the savage. Then drawing
the shuddering girl still closer to his vast chest,--"Come hither,
Clara, while to convince you I unfold the sad history of my life, and
tell you more of your parents than you have ever known. When," he
pursued solemnly, "you have learnt the extent of my love for the one,
and of my hatred for the other, and the wrongs I have endured from
both, you will no longer wonder at the spirit of mingled love and
vengeance that dictates my conduct towards yourself. Listen, girl," he
continued fiercely, "and judge whether mine are injuries to be tamely
pardoned, when a whole life has been devoted to the pursuit of the
means of avenging them."

Irresistibly led by a desire to know what possible connection could
have existed between her parents and this singular and ferocious man,
the wretched girl gave her passive assent. She even hoped that, in the
course of his narrative, some softening recollections would pass over
his mind, the effect of which might be to predispose him to mercy.
Wacousta buried his face for a few moments in his large hand, as if
endeavouring to collect and concentrate the remembrances of past years.
His countenance, meanwhile, had undergone a change; for there was now a
shade of melancholy mixed with the fierceness of expression usually
observable there. This, however, was dispelled in the course of his
narrative, and as various opposite passions were in turn powerfully and
severally developed.


"It is now four and twenty years," commenced Wacousta, "since your
father and myself first met as subalterns in the regiment he now
commands, when, unnatural to say, an intimacy suddenly sprang up
between us which, as it was then to our brother officers, has since
been a source of utter astonishment to myself. Unnatural, I repeat, for
fire and ice are not more opposite than were the elements of which our
natures were composed. He, all coldness, prudence, obsequiousness, and
forethought. I, all enthusiasm, carelessness, impetuosity, and
independence. Whether this incongruous friendship--friendship! no, I
will not so far sully the sacred name as thus to term the unnatural
union that subsisted between us;--whether this intimacy, then, sprang
from the adventitious circumstance of our being more frequently thrown
together as officers of the same company,--for we were both attached to
the grenadiers,--or that my wild spirit was soothed by the bland
amenity of his manners, I know not. The latter, however, is not
improbable; for proud, and haughty, and dignified, as the colonel NOW
is, such was not THEN the character of the ensign; who seemed thrown
out of one of Nature's supplest moulds, to fawn, and cringe, and worm
his way to favour by the wily speciousness of his manners. Oh God!"
pursued Wacousta, after a momentary pause, and striking his palm
against his forehead, "that I ever should have been the dupe of such a
cold-blooded hypocrite!

"I have said our intimacy excited surprise among our brother officers.
It did; for all understood and read the character of your father, who
was as much disliked and distrusted for the speciousness of his false
nature, as I was generally esteemed for the frankness and warmth of
mine. No one openly censured the evident preference I gave him in my
friendship; but we were often sarcastically termed the Pylades and
Orestes of the regiment, until my heart was ready to leap into my
throat with impatience at the bitterness in which the taunt was
conceived; and frequently in my presence was allusion made to the blind
folly of him, who should take a cold and slimy serpent to his bosom
only to feel its fangs darted into it at the moment when most fostered
by its genial heat. All, however, was in vain. On a nature like mine,
innuendo was likely to produce an effect directly opposite to that
intended; and the more I found them inclined to be severe on him I
called my friend, the more marked became my preference. I even fancied
that because I was rich, generous, and heir to a title, their
observations were prompted by jealousy of the influence he possessed
over me, and a desire to supplant him only for their interests' sake.
Bitterly have I been punished for the illiberality of such an opinion.
Those to whom I principally allude were the subalterns of the regiment,
most of whom were nearly of our own age. One or two of the junior
captains were also of this number; but, by the elders (as we termed the
seniors of that rank) and field officers, Ensign de Haldimar was always
regarded as a most prudent and promising young officer.

"What conduced, in a great degree, to the establishment of our intimacy
was the assistance I always received from my brother subaltern in
whatever related to my military duties. As the lieutenant of the
company, the more immediate responsibility attached to myself; but
being naturally of a careless habit, or perhaps considering all duty
irksome to my impatient nature that was not duty in the field, I was
but too often guilty of neglecting it. On these occasions my absence
was ever carefully supplied by your father, who, in all the minutiae of
regimental economy, was surpassed by no other officer in the corps; so
that credit was given to me, when, at the ordinary inspections, the
grenadiers were acknowledged to be the company the most perfect in
equipment and skilful in manoeuvre. Deeply, deeply," again mused
Wacousta, "have these services been repaid.

"As you have just learnt, Cornwall is the country of my birth. I was
the eldest of the only two surviving children of a large family; and,
as heir to the baronetcy of the proud Mortons, was looked up to by lord
and vassal as the future perpetuator of the family name. My brother had
been designed for the army; but as this was a profession to which I had
attached my inclinations, the point was waved in my favour, and at the
age of eighteen I first joined the ---- regiment, then quartered in the
Highlands of Scotland. During my boyhood I had ever accustomed myself
to athletic exercises, and loved to excite myself by encountering
danger in its most terrific forms. Often had I passed whole days in
climbing the steep and precipitous crags which overhang the sea in the
neighbourhood of Morton Castle, ostensibly in the pursuit of the heron
or the seagull, but self-acknowledgedly for the mere pleasure of
grappling with the difficulties they opposed to me. Often, too, in the
most terrific tempests, when sea and sky have met in one black and
threatening mass, and when the startled fishermen have in vain
attempted to dissuade me from my purpose, have I ventured, in sheer
bravado, out of sight of land, and unaccompanied by a human soul. Then,
when wind and tide have been against me on my return, have I, with my
simple sculls alone, caused my faithful bark to leap through the
foaming brine as though a press of canvass had impelled her on. Oh,
that this spirit of adventure had never grown with my growth and
strengthened with my strength!" sorrowfully added the warrior, again
apostrophising himself: "then had I never been the wretch I am.

"The wild daring by which my boyhood had been marked was again
powerfully awakened by the bold and romantic scenery of the Scottish
Highlands; and as the regiment was at that time quartered in a part of
these mountainous districts, where, from the disturbed nature of the
times, society was difficult of attainment, many of the officers were
driven from necessity, as I was from choice, to indulge in the sports
of the chase. On one occasion a party of four of us set out early in
the morning in pursuit of deer, numbers of which we knew were to be met
with in the mountainous tracts of Bute and Argyleshire. The course we
happened to take lay through a succession of dark deep glens, and over
frowning rocks; the difficulties of access to which only stirred up my
dormant spirit of enterprise the more. We had continued in this course
for many hours, overcoming one difficulty only to be encountered by
another, and yet without meeting a single deer; when, at length, the
faint blast of a horn was heard far above our heads in the distance,
and presently a noble stag was seen to ascend a ledge of rocks
immediately in front of us. To raise my gun to my shoulder and fire was
the work of a moment, after which we all followed in pursuit. On
reaching the spot where the deer had first been seen, we observed
traces of blood, satisfying us he had been wounded; but the course
taken in his flight was one that seemed to defy every human effort to
follow in. It was a narrow pointed ledge, ascending boldly towards a
huge cliff that projected frowningly from the extreme summit, and on
either side lay a dark, deep, and apparently fathomless ravine; to look
even on which was sufficient to appal the stoutest heart, and unnerve
the steadiest brain. For me, however, long accustomed to dangers of the
sort, it had no terror. This was a position in which I had often wished
once more to find myself placed, and I felt buoyant and free as the
deer itself I intended to pursue. In vain did my companions (and your
father was one) implore me to abandon a project so wild and hazardous.
I bounded forward, and they turned shuddering away, that their eyes
might not witness the destruction that awaited me. Meanwhile, balancing
my long gun in my upraised hands, I trod the dangerous path with a
buoyancy and elasticity of limb, a lightness of heart, and a
fearlessness of consequences, that surprised even myself. Perhaps it
was to the latter circumstance I owed my safety, for a single doubt of
my security might have impelled a movement that would not have failed
to have precipitated me into the yawning gulf below. I had proceeded in
this manner about five hundred yards, when I came to the termination of
the ledge, from the equally narrow transverse extremity of which
branched out three others; the whole contributing to form a figure
resembling that of a trident. Pausing here for a moment, I applied the
hunting horn, with which I was provided, to my lips. This signal,
announcing my safety, was speedily returned by my friends below in a
cheering and lively strain, that seemed to express at once surprise and
satisfaction; and inspirited by the sound, I prepared to follow up my
perilous chase. Along the ledge I had quitted I had remarked occasional
traces where the stricken deer had passed; and the same blood-spots now
directed me at a point where, but for these, I must have been utterly
at fault. The centre of these new ridges, and the narrowest, was that
taken by the animal, and on that I once more renewed my pursuit. As I
continued to advance I found the ascent became more precipitous, and
the difficulties opposed to my progress momentarily more multiplied.
Still, nothing daunted, I continued my course towards the main body of
rock that now rose within a hundred yards. How this was to be gained I
knew not; for it shelved out abruptly from the extreme summit,
overhanging the abyss, and presenting an appearance which I cannot more
properly render than by comparing it to the sounding-boards placed over
the pulpits of our English churches. Still I was resolved to persevere
to the close, and I but too unhappily succeeded." Again Wacousta
paused. A tear started to his eye, but this he impatiently brushed away
with his swarthy hand.

"It was evident to me," he again resumed, "that there must be some
opening through which the deer had effected his escape to the
precipitous height above; and I felt a wild and fearful triumph in
following him to his cover, over passes which it was my pleasure to
think none of the hardy mountaineers themselves would have dared to
venture upon with impunity. I paused not to consider of the difficulty
of bearing away my prize, even if I succeeded in overtaking it. At
every step my excitement and determination became stronger, and I felt
every fibre of my frame to dilate, as when, in my more boyish days, I
used to brave, in my gallant skiff, the mingled fury of the warring
elements of sea and storm. Suddenly, while my mind was intent only on
the dangers I used then to hold in such light estimation, I found my
further progress intercepted by a fissure in the crag. It was not the
width of this opening that disconcerted me, for it exceeded not ten
feet; but I came upon it so unadvisedly, that, in attempting to check
my forward motion, I had nearly lost my equipoise, and fallen into the
abyss that now yawned before and on either side of me. To pause upon
the danger, would, I felt, be to ensure it. Summoning all my dexterity
into a single bound, I cleared the chasm; and with one buskined foot
(for my hunting costume was strictly Highland) clung firmly to the
ledge, while I secured my balance with the other. At this point the
rock became gradually broader, so that I now trod the remainder of the
rude path in perfect security, until I at length found myself close to
the vast mass of which these ledges were merely ramifications or veins:
but still I could discover no outlet by which the wounded deer could
have escaped. While I lingered, thoughtfully, for a moment, half in
disappointment, half in anger, and with my back leaning against the
rock, I fancied I heard a rustling, as of the leaves and branches of
underwood, on that part which projected like a canopy, far above the
abyss. I bent my eye eagerly and fixedly on the spot whence the sound
proceeded, and presently could distinguish the blue sky appearing
through an aperture, to which was, the instant afterwards, applied what
I conceived to be a human face. No sooner, however, was it seen than
withdrawn; and then the rustling of leaves was heard again, and all was
still as before.

"Why did my evil genius so will it," resumed Wacousta, after another
pause, during which he manifested deep emotion, "that I should have
heard those sounds and seen that face? But for these I should have
returned to my companions, and my life might have been the life--the
plodding life--of the multitude; things that are born merely to crawl
through existence and die, knowing not at the moment of death why or
how they have lived at all. But who may resist the destiny that
presides over him from the cradle to the grave? for, although the mass
may be, and are, unworthy of the influencing agency of that Unseen
Power, who will presume to deny there are those on whom it stamps its
iron seal, even from the moment of their birth to that which sees all
that is mortal of them consigned to the tomb? What was it but destiny
that whispered to me what I had seen was the face of a woman? I had not
traced a feature, nor could I distinctly state that it was a human
countenance I had beheld; but mine was ever an imagination into which
the wildest improbability was scarce admitted that it did not grow into
conviction in the instant.

"A new direction was now given to my feelings. I felt a presentiment
that my adventure, if prosecuted, would terminate in some extraordinary
and characteristic manner; and obeying, as I ever did, the first
impulse of my heart, I prepared to grapple once more with the
difficulties that yet remained to be surmounted. In order to do this,
it was necessary that my feet and hands should be utterly without
incumbrance; for it was only by dint of climbing that I could expect to
reach that part of the projecting rock to which my attention had been
directed. Securing my gun between some twisted roots that grew out of
and adhered to the main body of the rock, I commenced the difficult
ascent; and, after considerable effort, found myself at length
immediately under the aperture. My progress along the lower superficies
of this projection was like that of a crawling reptile. My back hung
suspended over the chasm, into which one false movement of hand or
foot, one yielding of the roots entwined in the rock, must inevitably
have precipitated me; and, while my toes wormed themselves into the
tortuous fibres of the latter, I passed hand over hand beyond my head,
until I had arrived within a foot or two of the point I desired to
reach. Here, however, a new difficulty occurred. A slight projection of
the rock, close to the aperture, impeded my further progress in the
manner hitherto pursued; and, to pass this, I was compelled to drop my
whole weight, suspended by one vigorous arm, while, with the other, I
separated the bushes that concealed the opening. A violent exertion of
every muscle now impelled me upward, until at length I had so far
succeeded as to introduce my head and shoulders through the aperture;
after which my final success was no longer doubtful. If I have been
thus minute in the detail of the dangerous nature of this passage,"
continued Wacousta, gloomily, "it is not without reason. I would have
you to impress the whole of the localities upon your imagination, that
you may the better comprehend, from a knowledge of the risks I
incurred, how little I have merited the injuries under which I have
writhed for years."

Again one of those painful pauses with which his narrative was so often
broken, occurred; and, with an energy that terrified her whom he
addressed, Wacousta pursued--"Clara de Haldimar, it was here--in this
garden--this paradise--this oasis of the rocks in which I now found
myself, that I first saw and loved your mother. Ha! you start: you
believe me now.--Loved her!" he continued, after another short
pause--"oh, what a feeble word is love to express the concentration of
mighty feelings that flowed like burning lava through my veins! Who
shall pretend to give a name to the emotion that ran thrillingly--madly
through my excited frame, when first I gazed on her, who, in every
attribute of womanly beauty, realised all my fondest fancy ever
painted?--Listen to me, Clara," he pursued, in a fiercer tone, and with
a convulsive pressure of the form he still encircled:--"If, in my
younger days, my mind was alive to enterprise, and loved to contemplate
danger in its most appalling forms, this was far from being the master
passion of my soul; nay, it was the strong necessity I felt of pouring
into some devoted bosom the overflowing fulness of my heart, that made
me court in solitude those positions of danger with which the image of
woman was ever associated. How often, while tossed by the raging
elements, now into the blue vault of heaven, now into the lowest gulfs
of the sea, have I madly wished to press to my bounding bosom the being
of my fancy's creation, who, all enamoured and given to her love,
should, even amid the danger that environed her, be alive but to one
consciousness,--that of being with him on whom her life's hope alone
reposed! How often, too, while bending over some dark and threatening
precipice, or standing on the utmost verge of some tall projecting
cliff, my aching head (aching with the intenseness of its own
conceptions) bared to the angry storm, and my eye fixed unshrinkingly
on the boiling ocean far beneath my feet, has my whole soul--my every
faculty, been bent on that ideal beauty which controlled every sense!
Oh, imagination, how tyrannical is thy sway--how exclusive thy
power--how insatiable thy thirst! Surrounded by living beauty, I was
insensible to its influence; for, with all the perfection that reality
can attain on earth, there was ever to be found some deficiency, either
physical or moral, that defaced the symmetry and destroyed the
loveliness of the whole; but, no sooner didst thou, with magic wand,
conjure up one of thy embodiments, than my heart became a sea of flame,
and was consumed in the vastness of its own fires.

"It was in vain that my family sought to awaken me to a sense of the
acknowledged loveliness of the daughters of more than one ancient house
in the county, with one of whom an alliance was, in many respects,
considered desirable. Their beauty, or rather their whole, was
insufficient to stir up into madness the dormant passions of my nature;
and although my breast was like a glowing furnace, in which fancy cast
all the more exciting images of her coinage to secure the last impress
of the heart's approval, my outward deportment to some of the fairest
and loveliest of earth's realities was that of one on whom the
influence of woman's beauty could have no power. From my earliest
boyhood I had loved to give the rein to these feelings, until they at
length rendered me their slave. Woman was the idol that lay enshrined
within my inmost heart; but it was woman such as I had not yet met
with, yet felt must somewhere exist in the creation. For her I could
have resigned title, fortune, family, every thing that is dear to man,
save the life, through which alone the reward of such sacrifice could
have been tasted, and to this phantom I had already yielded up all the
manlier energies of my nature; but, deeply as I felt the necessity of
loving something less unreal, up to the moment of my joining the
regiment, my heart had never once throbbed for created woman.

"I have already said that, on gaining the summit of the rock, I found
myself in a sort of oasis of the mountains. It was so. Belted on every
hand by bold and precipitous crags, that seemed to defy the approach
even of the wildest animals, and putting utterly at fault the
penetration and curiosity of man, was spread a carpet of verdure, a
luxuriance of vegetation, that might have put to shame the fertility of
the soft breeze-nourished valleys of Italy and Southern France. Time,
however, is not given me to dwell on the mingled beauty and wildness of
a scene, so consonant with my ideas of the romantic and the
picturesque. Let me rather recur to her (although my heart be lacerated
once more in the recollection) who was the presiding deity of the
whole,--the being after whom, had I had the fabled power of Prometheus,
I should have formed and animated the sharer of that sweet wild
solitude, nor once felt that fancy, to whom I was so largely a debtor,
had in aught been cheated of what she had, for a series of years, so
rigidly claimed.

"At about twenty yards from the aperture, and on a bank, formed of
turf, covered with moss, and interspersed with roses and honeysuckles,
sat this divinity of the oasis. She, too, was clad in the Highland
dress, which gave an air of wildness and elegance to her figure that
was in classic harmony with the surrounding scenery. At the moment of
my appearance she was in the act of dressing the wounded shoulder of a
stag, that had recently been shot; and from the broad tartan riband I
perceived attached to its neck, added to the fact of the tameness of
the animal, I presumed that this stag, evidently a favourite of its
mistress, was the same I had fired at and wounded. The rustling I made
among the bushes had attracted her attention; she raised her eyes from
the deer, and, beholding me, started to her feet, uttering a cry of
terror and surprise. Fearing to speak, as if the sound of my own voice
were sufficient to dispel the illusion that fascinated both eye and
heart into delicious tension on her form, yet with my soul kindled into
all that wild uncontrollable love which had been the accumulation of
years of passionate imagining, I stood for some moments as motionless
as the rock out of which I appeared to grow. It seemed as though I had
not the power to think or act, so fully was every faculty of my being
filled with the consciousness that I at length gazed upon her I was
destined to love for ever.

"It was this utter immobility on my own part, that ensured me a
continuance of the exquisite happiness I then enjoyed. The first
movement of the startled girl had been to fly towards her dwelling,
which stood at a short distance, half imbedded in the same clustering
roses and honey-suckles that adorned her bank of moss; but when she
remarked my utter stillness, and apparent absence of purpose, she
checked the impulse that would have directed her departure, and
stopped, half in curiosity, half in fear, to examine me once more. At
that moment all my energies appeared to be restored; I threw myself
into an attitude expressive of deep contrition for the intrusion of
which I had been unconsciously guilty, and dropping on one knee, and
raising my clasped hands, inclined them towards her in token of mingled
deprecation of her anger, and respectful homage to herself. At first
she hesitated,--then gradually and timidly retrod her way to the seat
she had so abruptly quitted in her alarm. Emboldened by this movement,
I made a step or two in advance, but no sooner had I done so than she
again took to flight. Once more, however, she turned to behold me, and
again I had dropped on my knee, and was conjuring her, with the same
signs, to remain and bless me with her presence. Again she returned to
her seat, and again I advanced. Scarcely less timid, however, than the
deer, which followed her every movement, she fled a third time,--a
third time looked back, and was again induced, by my supplicating
manner, to return. Frequently was this repeated, before I finally found
myself at the feet, and pressing the hand--(oh God! what torture in the
recollection!)--yes, pressing the hand of her for whose smile I would,
even at that moment, have sacrificed my soul; and every time she fled,
the classic disposition of her graceful limbs, and her whole natural
attitude of alarm, could only be compared with those of one of the
huntresses of Diana, intruded on in her woodland privacy by the
unhallowed presence of some daring mortal. Such was your mother, Clara
de Haldimar; yes, even such as I have described her was Clara Beverley."

Again Wacousta paused, and his pause was longer than usual, as, with
his large hand again covering his face, he seemed endeavouring to
master the feelings which these recollections had called up. Clara
scarcely breathed. Unmindful of her own desolate position, her soul was
intent only on a history that related so immediately to her beloved
mother, of whom all that she had hitherto known was, that she was a
native of Scotland, and that her father had married her while quartered
in that country. The deep emotion of the terrible being before her, so
often manifested in the course of what he had already given of his
recital, added to her knowledge of the facts just named, scarcely left
a doubt of the truth of his statement on her mind. Her ear was now bent
achingly towards him, in expectation of a continuance of his history,
but he still remained in the same attitude of absorption. An
irresistible impulse caused her to extend her hand, and remove his own
from his eyes: they were filled with tears; and even while her mind
rapidly embraced the hope that this manifestation of tenderness was but
the dawning of mercy towards the children of her he had once loved, her
kind nature could not avoid sympathizing with him, whose uncouthness of
appearance and savageness of nature was, in some measure, lost sight of
in the fact of the powerful love he yet apparently acknowledged.

But no sooner did Wacousta feel the soft pressure of her hand, and meet
her eyes turned on his with an expression of interest, than the most
rapid transition was effected in his feelings. He drew the form of the
weakly resisting girl closer to his heart; again imprinted a kiss upon
her lips; and then, while every muscle in his iron frame seemed
quivering with emotion, exclaimed,--"By Heaven! that touch, that
glance, were Clara Beverley's all over! Oh, let me linger on the
recollection, even such as they were, when her arms first opened to
receive me in that sweet oasis of the Highlands. Yes, Clara," he
proceeded more deliberately, as he scanned her form with an eye that
made her shudder, "such as your mother was, so are you; the same
delicacy of proportion; the same graceful curvature of limb, only less
rounded, less womanly. But you must be younger by about two years than
she then was. Your age cannot exceed seventeen; and time will supply
what your mere girlhood renders you deficient in."

There was a cool licence of speech--a startling freedom of manner--in
the latter part of this address, that disappointed not less than it
pained and offended the unhappy Clara. It seemed to her as if the
illusion she had just created, were already dispelled by his language,
even as her own momentary interest in the fierce man had also been
destroyed from the same cause. She shuddered; and sighing bitterly,
suffered her tears to force themselves through her closed lids upon her
pallid cheek. This change in her appearance seemed to act as a check on
the temporary excitement of Wacousta. Again obeying one of these rapid
transitions of feeling, for which he was remarkable, he once more
assumed an expression of seriousness, and thus continued his narrative.


"It boots not now, Clara, to enter upon all that succeeded to my first
introduction to your mother. It would take long to relate, not the
gradations of our passion, for that was like the whirlwind of the
desert, sudden and devastating from the first; but the burning vow, the
plighted faith, the reposing confidence, the unchecked abandonment that
flew from the lips, and filled the heart of each, sealed, as they were,
with kisses, long, deep, enervating, even such as I had ever pictured
that divine pledge of human affection should be. Yes, Clara de
Haldimar, your mother was the child of nature THEN. Unspoiled by the
forms, unvitiated by the sophistries of a world with which she had
never mixed, her intelligent innocence made the most artless avowals to
my enraptured ear,--avowals that the more profligate minded woman of
society would have blushed to whisper even to herself. And for these I
loved her to my own undoing.

"Blind vanity, inconceivable folly!" continued Wacousta, again pressing
his forehead with force; "how could I be so infatuated as not to
perceive, that although her heart was filled with a new and delicious
passion, it was less the individual than the man she loved. And how
could it be otherwise, since I was the first, beside her father, she
had ever seen or recollected to have seen? Still, Clara de Haldimar,"
he pursued, with haughty energy, "I was not always the rugged being I
now appear. Of surpassing strength I had ever been, and fleet of foot,
but not then had I attained to my present gigantic stature; neither was
my form endowed with the same Herculean rudeness; nor did my complexion
wear the swarthy hue of the savage; nor had my features been rendered
repulsive, from the perpetual action of those fierce passions which
have since assailed my soul. My physical faculties had not yet been
developed to their present grossness of maturity, neither had my moral
energies acquired that tone of ferocity which often renders me hideous,
even in my own eyes. In a word, the milk of my nature (for, with all my
impetuosity of character, I was generous-hearted and kind) had not yet
been turned to gall by villainy and deceit. My form had then all that
might attract--my manners all that might win--my enthusiasm of speech
all that might persuade--and my heart all that might interest a girl
fashioned after nature's manner, and tutored in nature's school. In the
regiment, I was called the handsome grenadier; but there was another
handsomer than I,--a sly, insidious, wheedling, false, remorseless
villain. That villain, Clara de Haldimar, was your father.

"But wherefore," continued Wacousta, chafing with the recollection,
"wherefore do I, like a vain and puling schoolboy, enter into this
abasing contrast of personal advantages? The proud eagle soars not more
above the craven kite, than did my soul, in all that was manly and
generous, above that of yon false governor; and who should have prized
those qualities, if it were not the woman who, bred in solitude, and
taught by fancy to love all that was generous and noble in the heart of
man, should have considered mere beauty of feature as dust in the
scale, when opposed to sentiments which can invest even deformity with
loveliness? In all this I may appear vain; I am only just.

"I have said that your mother had been brought up in solitude, and
without having seen the face of another man than her father. Such was
the case;--Colonel Beverley, of English name, but Scottish connections,
was an old gentleman of considerable eccentricity of character. He had
taken a part in the rebellion of 1715; but sick and disgusted with an
issue by which his fortunes had been affected, and heart-broken by the
loss of a beloved wife, whose death had been accelerated by
circumstances connected with the disturbed nature of the times, he had
resolved to bury himself and child in some wild, where the face of man,
whom he loathed, might no more offend his sight. This oasis of the
mountains was the spot selected for his purpose; for he had discovered
it some years previously, on an occasion, when, closely pursued by some
of the English troops, and separated from his followers, he had only
effected his escape by venturing on the ledges of rock I have already
described. After minute subsequent search, at the opposite extremity of
the oblong belt of rocks that shut it in on every hand, he had
discovered an opening, through which the transport of such necessaries
as were essential to his object might be effected; and, causing one of
his dwelling houses to be pulled down, he had the materials carried
across the rocks on the shoulders of the men employed to re-erect them
in his chosen solitude. A few months served to complete these
arrangements, which included a garden abounding in every fruit and
flower that could possibly live in so elevated a region; and; this, in
time, under his own culture, and that of his daughter, became the Eden
it first appeared to me.

"Previous to their entering on this employment, the workmen had been
severally sworn to secrecy; and when all was declared ready for his
reception, the colonel summoned them a second time to his presence;
when, after making a handsome present to each, in addition to his hire,
he found no difficulty in prevailing on them to renew their oath that
they would preserve the most scrupulous silence in regard to the place
of his retreat. He then took advantage of a dark and tempestuous night
to execute his project; and, attended only by an old woman and her
daughter, faithful dependants of the family, set out in quest of his
new abode, leaving all his neighbours to discuss and marvel at the
singularity of his disappearance. True to his text, however, not even a
boy was admitted into his household: and here they had continued to
live, unseeing and unseen by man, except when a solitary and distant
mountaineer occasionally flitted among the rocks below in pursuit of
his game. Fruits and vegetables composed their principal diet; but once
a fortnight the old woman was dispatched through the opening already
mentioned, which was at other times so secured by her master, that no
hand but his own could remove the intricate fastenings. This expedition
had for its object the purchase of bread and animal food at the nearest
market; and every time she sallied forth an oath was administered to
the crone, the purport of which was, not only that she would return,
unless prevented by violence or death, but that she would not answer
any questions put to her, as to who she was, whence she came, or for
whom the fruits of her marketing were intended.

"Meanwhile, wrapped up in his books, which were chiefly classic
authors, or writers on abstruse sciences, the misanthropical colonel
paid little or no attention to the cultivation of the intellect of his
daughter, whom he had merely instructed in the elementary branches of
education; in all which, however, she evinced an aptitude and
perfectability that indicated quickness of genius and a capability of
far higher attainments. Books he principally withheld from her, because
they brought the image of man, whom he hated, and wished she should
also hate, too often in flattering colours before her; and had any work
treating of love been found to have crept accidentally into his own
collection, it would instantly and indignantly have been committed to
the flames.

"Thus left to the action of her own heart--the guidance of her own
feelings--it was but natural your mother should have suffered her
imagination to repose on an ideal happiness, which, although in some
degree destitute of shape and character, was still powerfully felt.
Nature is too imperious a law-giver to be thwarted in her dictates; and
however we may seek to stifle it, her inextinguishable voice will make
itself heard, whether it be in the lonely desert or in the crowded
capital. Possessed of a glowing heart and warm sensibilities, Clara
Beverley felt the energies of her being had not been given to her to be
wasted on herself. In her dreams by night, and her thoughts by day, she
had pictured a being endowed with those attributes which were the fruit
of her own fertility of conception. If she plucked a flower, (and all
this she admitted at our first interview," groaned Wacousta,) "she was
sensible of the absence of one to whom that flower might be given. If
she gazed at the star-studded canopy of heaven, or bent her head over
the frowning precipices by which she was every where surrounded, she
felt the absence of him with whom she could share the enthusiasm
excited by the contemplation of the one, and to whom she could impart
the mingled terror and admiration produced by the dizzying depths of
the other. What dear acknowledgments (alas! too deceitful,) flowed from
her guileless lips, even during that first interview. With a candour
and unreservedness that spring alone from unsophisticated manners and
an untainted heart, she admitted, that the instant she beheld me, she
felt she had found the being her fancy had been so long tutored to
linger on, and her heart to love. She was sure I was come to be her
husband (for she had understood from her aged attendant that a man who
loved a woman wished to be her husband); and she was glad her pet stag
had been wounded, since it had been the means of procuring her such
happiness. She was not cruel enough to take pleasure in the sufferings
of the poor animal; for she would nurse it, and it would soon be well
again; but she could not help rejoicing in its disaster, since that
circumstance had been the cause of my finding her out, and loving her
even as she loved me. And all this was said with her head reclining on
my chest, and her beautiful countenance irradiated with a glow that had
something divine in the simplicity of purpose it expressed.

"On my demanding to know whether it was not her face I had seen at the
opening in the cliff, she replied that it was. Her stag often played
the truant, and passed whole hours away from her, rambling beyond the
precincts of the solitude that contained its mistress; but no sooner
was the small silver bugle, which she wore across her shoulder, applied
to her lips, than 'Fidelity' (thus she had named him) was certain to
obey the call, and to come bounding up the line of cliff to the main
rock, into which it effected its entrance at a point that had escaped
my notice. It was her bugle I had heard in the course of my pursuit of
the animal; and, from the aperture through which I had effected my
entrance, she had looked out to see who was the audacious hunter she
had previously observed threading a passage, along which her stag
itself never appeared without exciting terror in her bosom. The first
glimpse she had caught of my form was at the moment when, after having
sounded my own bugle, I cleared the chasm; and this was a leap she had
so often trembled to see taken by 'Fidelity,' that she turned away and
shuddered when she saw it fearlessly adventured on by a human being. A
feeling of curiosity had afterwards induced her to return and see if
the bold hunter had cleared the gulf, or perished in his mad attempt;
but when she looked outward from the highest pinnacle of her rocky
prison, she could discover no traces of him whatever. It then occurred
to her, that, if successful in his leap, his progress must have been
finally arrested by the impassable rock that terminated the ridge; in
which case she might perchance obtain a nearer sight of his person.
With this view she had removed the bushes enshrouding the aperture;
and, bending low to the earth, thrust her head partially through it.
Scarcely had she done so, however, when she beheld me immediately,
though far beneath her, with my back reposing against the rock, and my
eyes apparently fixed on hers.

"Filled with a variety of opposite sentiments, among which unfeigned
alarm was predominant, she had instantaneously removed her head; and,
closing the aperture as noiselessly as possible, returned to the
moss-covered seat on which I had first surprised her; where, while she
applied dressings of herbs to the wound of her favourite, she suffered
her mind to ruminate on the singularity of the appearance of a man so
immediately in the vicinity of their retreat. The supposed
impracticability of the ascent I had accomplished, satisfied, even
while (as she admitted) it disappointed her. I must of necessity
retrace my way over the dangerous ridge. Great, therefore, was her
surprise, when, after having been attracted by the rustling noise of
the bushes over the aperture, she presently saw the figure of the same
hunter emerge from the abyss it overhung. Terror had winged her flight;
but it was terror mingled with a delicious emotion entirely new to her.
It was that emotion, momentarily increasing in power, that induced her
to pause, look back, hesitate in her course, and finally be won, by my
supplicating manner, to return and bless me with her presence.

"Two long and delicious hours," pursued Wacousta, after another painful
pause of some moments, "did we pass in this manner; exchanging thought,
and speech, and heart, as if the term of our acquaintance had been
coeval with the first dawn of our intellectual life; when suddenly a
small silver toned bell was heard from the direction of the house, hid
from the spot--on which we sat by the luxuriant foliage of an
intervening laburnum. This sound seemed to dissipate the dreamy calm
that had wrapped the soul of your mother into forgetfulness. She
started suddenly up, and bade me, if I loved her, begone; as that bell
announced her required attendance on her father, who, now awakened from
the mid-day slumber in which he ever indulged, was about to take his
accustomed walk around the grounds; which was little else, in fact,
than a close inspection of the walls of his natural castle. I rose to
obey her; our eyes met, and she threw herself into my extended arms. We
whispered anew our vows of eternal love. She called me her husband, and
I pronounced the endearing name of wife. A burning kiss sealed the
compact; and, on her archly observing that the sleep of her father
continued about two hours at noon, and that the old woman and her
daughter were always occupied within doors, I promised to repeat my
visit every second day until she finally quitted her retreat to be my
own for life. Again the bell was rung; and this time with a violence
that indicated impatience of delay. I tore myself from her arms, darted
to the aperture, and kissing my hand in reply to the graceful waving of
her scarf as she half turned in her own flight, sunk finally from her
view; and at length, after making the same efforts, and mastering the
same obstacles that had marked and opposed my advance, once more found
myself at the point whence I had set out in pursuit of the wounded deer.

"Many were the congratulations I received from my companions, whom I
found waiting my return. They had endured the three hours of my absence
with intolerable anxiety and alarm; until, almost despairing of
beholding me again, they had resolved on going back without me. They
said they had repeatedly sounded their horns; but meeting with no
answer from mine, had been compelled to infer either that I had strayed
to a point whence return to them was impracticable, or that I must have
perished in the abyss. I readily gave in to the former idea; stating I
had been led by the traces of the wounded deer to a considerable
distance, and over passes which it had proved a work of time and
difficulty to surmount, yet without securing my spoil. All this time
there was a glow of animation on my cheek, and a buoyancy of spirit in
my speech, that accorded ill, the first, with the fatigue one might
have been supposed to experience in so perilous a chase; the second,
with the disappointment attending its result. Your father, ever cool
and quick of penetration, was the first to observe this; and when he
significantly remarked, that, to judge from my satisfied countenance,
my time had been devoted to the pursuit of more interesting game, I
felt for a moment as if he was actually master of my secret, and was
sensible my features underwent a change. I, however, parried the
attack, by replying indifferently, that if he should have the hardihood
to encounter the same dangers, he would, if successful, require no
other prompter than the joy of self-preservation to lend the same glow
of satisfaction to his own features. Nothing further was said on the
subject; but conversing on indifferent topics, we again threaded the
mazes of rock and underwood we had passed at an early hour, and finally
gained the town in which we were quartered.

"During dinner, as on our way home, although my voice occasionally
mixed with the voices of my companions, my heart was far away, and full
of the wild but innocent happiness in which it had luxuriated. At
length, the more freely to indulge in the recollection, I stole at an
early hour from the mess-room, and repaired to my own apartments. In
the course of the morning, I had hastily sketched an outline of your
mother's features in pencil, with a view to assist me in the design of
a miniature I purposed painting from memory. This was an amusement of
which I was extremely and in which I had attained considerable
excellence; being enabled, from memory alone, to give a most correct
representation of any object that particularly fixed my attention. She
had declared utter ignorance of the art herself, her father having
studiously avoided instructing her in it from some unexplained motive;
yet as she expressed the most unbounded admiration of those who
possessed it, it was my intention to surprise her with a highly
finished likeness of herself at my next visit. With this view I now set
to work; and made such progress, that before I retired to rest I had
completed all but the finishing touches, to which I purposed devoting a
leisure hour or two by daylight on the morrow.

"While occupied the second day in its completion, it occurred to me I
was in orders for duty on the following, which was that of my promised
visit to the oasis; and I despatched my servant with my compliments to
your father, and a request that he would be so obliging as to take my
guard for me on the morrow, and I would perform his duty when next his
name appeared on the roster. Some time afterwards I heard the door of
the room in which I sat open, and some one enter. Presuming it to be my
servant, returned from the execution of the message with which he had
just been charged, I paid no attention to the circumstance; but
finding, presently, he did not speak, I turned round with a view of
demanding what answer he had brought. To my surprise, however, I beheld
not my servant, but your father. He was standing looking over my
shoulder at the work on which I was engaged; and notwithstanding in the
instant he resumed the cold, quiet, smirking look that usually
distinguished him, I thought I could trace the evidence of some deep
emotion which my action had suddenly dispelled. He apologised for his
intrusion, although we were on those terms that rendered apology
unnecessary, but said he had just received my message, and preferred
coming in person to assure me how happy he should feel to take my duty,
or to render me any other service in his power. I thought he laid
unusual emphasis on the last sentence; yet I thanked him warmly,
stating that the only service I should now exact of him would be to
take my guard, as I was compelled to be absent nearly the whole of the
following morning. He observed, with a smile, he hoped I was not going
to venture my neck on those dangerous precipices a second time, after
the narrow escape I had had on the preceding day. As he spoke, I
thought his eye met mine with a sly yet scrutinizing glance; and, not
wishing to reply immediately to his question, I asked him what he
thought of the work with which I was endeavouring to beguile an idle
hour. He took it up, and I watched the expression of his handsome
countenance with the anxiety of a lover who wishes that all should
think his mistress beautiful as he does himself. It betrayed a very
indefinite sort of admiration; and yet it struck me there was an
eagerness in his dilating eye that contrasted strongly with the calm
and unconcern of his other features. At length I asked him, laughingly,
what he thought of my Cornish cousin. He replied, cautiously enough,
that since it was the likeness of a cousin, and he dwelt emphatically
on the word, he could not fail to admire it. Candour, however,
compelled him to admit, that had I not declared the original to be one
so closely connected with me, he should have said the talent of so
perfect an artist might have been better employed. Whatever, however,
his opinion of the lady might be, there could be no question that the
painting was exquisite; yet, he confessed, he could not but be struck
with the singularity of the fact of a Cornish girl appearing in the
full costume of a female Highlander. This, I replied, was mere matter
of fancy and association, arising from my having been so much latterly
in the habit of seeing that dress principally worn. He smiled one of
his then damnable soft smiles of assent, and here the conversation
terminated, and he left me.

"The next day saw me again at the side of your mother, who received me
with the same artless demonstrations of affection. There was a mellowed
softness in her countenance, and a tender languor in her eye, I had not
remarked the preceding day. Then there was more of the vivacity and
playfulness of the young girl; now, more of the deep fervour and the
composed serenity of the thoughtful woman. This change was too
consonant to my taste--too flattering to my self-love--not to be
rejoiced in; and as I pressed her yielding form in silent rapture to my
own, I more than ever felt she was indeed the being for whom my glowing
heart had so long yearned. After the first full and unreserved
interchange of our souls' best feelings, our conversation turned upon
lighter topics; and I took an opportunity to produce the fruit of my
application since we had parted. Never shall I forget the surprise and
delight that animated her beautiful countenance when first she gazed
upon the miniature. The likeness was perfect, even to the minutest
shading of her costume; and so forcibly and even childishly did this
strike her, that it was with difficulty I could persuade her she was
not gazing on some peculiar description of mirror that reflected back
her living image. She expressed a strong desire to retain it; and to
this I readily assented: stipulating only to retain it until my next
visit, in order that I might take an exact copy for myself. With a look
of the fondest love, accompanied by a pressure on mine of lips that
distilled dewy fragrance where they rested, she thanked me for a gift
which she said would remind her, in absence, of the fidelity with which
her features had been engraven on my heart. She admitted, moreover,
with a sweet blush, that she herself had not been idle. Although her
pencil could not call up my image in the same manner, her pen had
better repaid her exertions; and, in return for the portrait, she would
give me a letter she had written to beguile her loneliness on the
preceding day. As she spoke she drew a sealed packet from the bosom of
her dress, and placing it in my hand, desired me not to read it until I
had returned to my home. But there was an expression of sweet confusion
in her lovely countenance, and a trepidation in her manner, that, half
disclosing the truth, rendered me utterly impatient of the delay
imposed; and eagerly breaking the seal, I devoured rather than read its

"Accursed madness of recollection!" pursued Wacousta, again striking
his brow violently with his hand,--"why is it that I ever feel thus
unmanned while recurring to those letters? Oh! Clara de Haldimar, never
did woman pen to man such declarations of tenderness and attachment as
that too dear but faithless letter of your mother contained. Words of
fire, emanating from the guilelessness of innocence, glowed in every
line; and yet every sentence breathed an utter unconsciousness of the
effect those words were likely to produce. Mad, wild, intoxicated, I
read the letter but half through; and, as it fell from my trembling
hand, my eye turned, beaming with the fires of a thousand emotions,
upon that of the worshipped writer. That glance was more than her own
could meet. A new consciousness seemed to be stirred up in her soul.
Her eye dropped beneath its long and silken fringe--her cheek became
crimson--her bosom heaved--and, all confidingness, she sank her head
upon my chest, which heaved scarcely less wildly than her own.

"Had I been a cold-blooded villain--a selfish and remorseless seducer,"
continued Wacousta with vehemence--"what was to have prevented my
triumph at that moment? But I came not to blight the flower that had
long been nurtured, though unseen, with the life-blood of my own being.
Whatever I may be NOW, I was THEN the soul of disinterestedness and
honour; and had she reposed on the bosom of her own father, that
devoted and unresisting girl could not have been pressed there with
holier tenderness. But even to this there was too soon a term. The hour
of parting at length arrived, announced, as before, by the small bell
of her father, and I again tore myself from her arms; not, however,
without first securing the treasured letter, and obtaining a promise
from your mother that I should receive another at each succeeding


"Nearly a month passed away in this manner; and at each interview our
affection seemed to increase. The days of our meeting were ever days of
pure and unalloyed happiness; while the alternate ones of absence were,
on my part, occupied chiefly with reading the glowing letters given me
at each parting by your mother. Of all these, however, there was not
one so impassioned, so natural, so every way devoted, as the first. Not
that she who wrote them felt less, but that the emotion excited in her
bosom by the manifestation of mine on that occasion, had imparted a
diffidence to her style of expression, plainly indicating the source
whence it sprung.

"One day, while preparing to set out on my customary excursion, a
report suddenly reached me that the route had arrived for the regiment,
who were to march from ---- within three days. This intelligence I
received with inconceivable delight; for it had been settled between
your mother and myself, that this should be the moment chosen for her
departure. It was not to be supposed (and I should have been both
pained and disappointed had it been otherwise,) that she would consent
to abandon her parent without some degree of regret; but, having
foreseen this objection from the first, I had gradually prepared her
for the sacrifice. This was the less difficult, as he appeared never to
have treated her with affection,--seldom with the marked favour that
might have been presumed to distinguish the manner of a father towards
a lovely and only daughter. Living for himself and the indulgence of
his misanthropy alone, he cared little for the immolation of his
child's happiness on its unhallowed shrine; and this was an act of
injustice I had particularly dwelt upon; upheld in truth, as it was, by
the knowledge she herself possessed, that no consideration could induce
him to bestow her hand on any one individual of a race he so cordially
detested; and this was not without considerable weight in her decision.

"With a glowing cheek, and a countenance radiant with happiness, did
your mother receive my proposal to prepare for her departure on the
following day. She was sufficiently aware, even through what I had
stated myself, that there were certain ceremonies of the Church to be
performed, in order to give sanctity to our union, and ensure her own
personal respectability in the world; and these, I told her, would be
solemnised by the chaplain of the regiment. She implicitly confided in
me; and she was right; for I loved her too well to make her my
mistress, while no barrier existed to her claim to a dearer title. And
had she been the daughter of a peasant, instead of a high-born
gentleman, finding her as I had found her, and loving her as I did love
her, I should have acted precisely in the same way.

"The only difficulty that now occurred was the manner of her flight.
The opening before alluded to as being the point whence the old woman
made her weekly sally to the market town, was of so intricate and
labyrinthian a character that none but the colonel understood the
secret of its fastenings; and the bare thought of my venturing with her
on the route by which I had hitherto made my entry into the oasis, was
one that curdled my blood with fear. I could absolutely feel my flesh
to contract whenever I painted the terrible risk that would be incurred
in adopting a plan I had once conceived,--namely, that of lashing your
mother to my back, while I again effected my descent to the ledge
beneath, in the manner I had hitherto done. I felt that, once on the
ridge, I might, without much effort, attain the passage of the fissure
already described; for the habit of accomplishing this leap had
rendered it so perfectly familiar to me, that I now performed it with
the utmost security and ease; but to imagine our united weight
suspended over the abyss, as it necessarily must be in the first stage
of our flight, when even the dislodgment of a single root or fragment
of the rock was sufficient to ensure the horrible destruction of her
whom I loved better than my own life, had something too appalling in it
to suffer me to dwell on the idea for more than a moment. I had
proposed, as the most feasible and rational plan, that the colonel
should be compelled to give us egress through the secret passage, when
we might command the services of the old woman to guide us through the
passes that led to the town; but to this your mother most urgently
objected, declaring that she would rather encounter any personal peril
that might attend her escape, in a different manner, than appear to be
a participator in an act of violence against her parent whose obstinacy
of character she moreover knew too well to leave a hope of his being
intimidated into the accomplishment of our object, even by a threat of
death itself. This plan I was therefore compelled to abandon; and as
neither of us were able to discover the passage by which the deer
always effected its entrance, I was obliged to fix upon one, which it
was agreed should be put in practice on the following day.

"On my return, I occupied myself with preparations for the reception of
her who was so speedily to become my wife. Unwilling that she should be
seen by any of my companions, until the ceremony was finally performed,
I engaged apartments in a small retired cottage, distant about half a
mile from the furthest extremity of the town, where I purposed she
should remain until the regiment finally quitted the station. This
point secured, I hastened to the quarters of the chaplain, to engage
his services for the following evening; but he was from home at the
time, and I repaired to my own rooms, to prepare the means of escape
for your mother. These occupied me until a very late hour; and when at
length I retired to rest, it was only to indulge in the fondest
imaginings that ever filled the heart of a devoted lover. Alas! (and
the dark warrior again sighed heavily) the day-dream of my happiness
was already fast drawing to a close.

"At half an hour before noon, I was again in the oasis; your mother was
at the wonted spot; and although she received me with her sunniest
smiles, there were traces of tears upon her cheek. I kissed them
eagerly away, and sought to dissipate the partial gloom that was again
clouding her brow. She observed it pained me to see her thus, and she
made a greater effort to rally. She implored me to forgive her
weakness; but it was the first time she was to be separated from her
parent; and conscious as she was that it was to be for ever, she could
not repress the feeling that rose, despite of herself, to her heart.
She had, however, prepared a letter, at my suggestion, to be left on
her favourite moss seat, where it was likely she would first be sought
by her father, to assure him of her safety, and of her prospects of
future happiness; and the consciousness that he would labour under no
harrowing uncertainty in regard to her fate, seemed, at length, to
soothe and satisfy her heart.

"I now led her to the aperture, where I had left the apparatus provided
for my purpose: this consisted of a close netting, about four feet in
depth, with a board for a footstool at the bottom, and furnished at
intervals with hoops, so as to keep it full and open. The top of this
netting was provided with two handles, to which were attached the ends
of a cord many fathoms in length; the whole of such durability, as to
have borne weights equal to those of three ordinary sized men, with
which I had proved it prior to my setting out. My first care was to
bandage the eyes of your mother, (who willingly and fearlessly
submitted to all I proposed,) that she might not see, and become faint
with seeing, the terrible chasm over which she was about to be
suspended. I then placed her within the netting, which, fitting closely
to her person, and reaching under her arms, completely secured her; and
my next urgent request was, that she would not, on any account, remove
the bandage, or make the slightest movement, when she found herself
stationary below, until I had joined her. I then dropped her gently
through the aperture, lowering fathom after fathom of the rope, the
ends of which I had firmly secured round the trunk of a tree, as an
additional safeguard, until she finally came on a level with that part
of the cliff on which I had reposed when first she beheld me. As she
still hung immediately over the abyss, it was necessary to give a
gradual impetus to her weight, to enable her to gain the landing-place.
I now, therefore, commenced swinging her to and fro, until she at
length came so near the point desired, that I clearly saw the principal
difficulty was surmounted. The necessary motion having been given to
the balance, with one vigorous and final impulsion I dexterously
contrived to deposit her several feet from the edge of the lower rock,
when, slackening the rope on the instant, I had the inexpressible
satisfaction to see that she remained firm and stationary. The waving
of her scarf immediately afterwards (a signal previously agreed upon),
announced she had sustained no injury in this rather rude collision
with the rock, and I in turn commenced my descent.

"Fearing to cast away the ends of the rope, lest their weight should by
any chance effect the balance of the footing your mother had obtained,
I now secured them around my loins, and accomplishing my descent in the
customary manner, speedily found myself once more at the side of my
heart's dearest treasure. Here the transport of my joy was too great to
be controlled; I felt that NOW my prize was indeed secured to me for
ever; and I burst forth into the most passionate exclamations of
tenderness, and falling on my knees, raised my hands to Heaven in
fervent gratitude for the success with which my enterprise had been
crowned. Another would have been discouraged at the difficulties still
remaining; but with these I was become too familiar, not to feel the
utmost confidence in encountering them, even with the treasure that was
equally perilled with myself. For a moment I removed the bandage from
the eyes of your mother, that she might behold not only the far distant
point whence she had descended, but the frowning precipice I had daily
been in the habit of climbing to be blest with her presence. She did
so,--and her cheek paled, for the first time, with a sense of the
danger I had incurred; then turning her soft and beautiful eyes on
mine, she smiled a smile that seemed to express how much her love would
repay me. Again our lips met, and we were happy even in that lonely
spot, beyond all language to describe. Once more, at length, I prepared
to execute the remainder of my task; and I again applied the bandage to
her eyes, saying that, although the principal danger was over, still
there was another I could not bear she should look upon. Again she
smiled, and with a touching sweetness of expression that fired my
blood, observing at the same time she feared no danger while she was
with me, but that if my object was to prevent her from looking at me,
the most efficient way certainly was to apply a bandage to her eyes.
Oh! woman, woman!" groaned Wacousta, in fierce anguish of spirit, "who
shall expound the complex riddle of thy versatile nature?

"Disengaging the rope from the handles of the netting, I now applied to
these a broad leathern belt taken from the pouches of two of my men,
and stooping with my back to the cherished burden with which I was
about to charge myself, passed the centre of the belt across my chest,
much in the manner in which, as you are aware, Indian women carry their
infant children. As an additional precaution, I had secured the netting
round my waist by a strong lacing of cord, and then raising myself to
my full height, and satisfying myself of the perfect freedom of action
of my limbs, seized a long balancing pole I had left suspended against
the rock at my last visit, and commenced my descent of the sloping
ridge. On approaching the horrible chasm, a feeling of faintness came
over me, despite of the confidence with which I had previously armed
myself. This, however, was but momentary. Sensible that every thing
depended on rapidity of movement, I paused not in my course; but,
quickening my pace as I gradually drew nearer, gave the necessary
impetus to my motion, and cleared the gap with a facility far exceeding
what had distinguished my first passage, and which was the fruit of
constant practice alone. Here my balance was sustained by the pole; and
at length I had the inexpressible satisfaction to find myself at the
very extremity of the ridge, and immediately at the point where I had
left my companions in my first memorable pursuit. Alas!" continued the
warrior, again interrupting himself with one of those fierce
exclamations of impatient anguish that so frequently occurred in his
narrative, "what subject for rejoicing was there in this? Better far we
had been dashed to pieces in the abyss, than I should have lived to
curse the hour when first my spirit of adventure led me to traverse
it." Again he resumed:--

"In the deep transport of my joy, I once more threw myself on my knees
in speechless thanksgiving to Providence for the complete success of my
undertaking. Your mother, whom I had previously released from her
confinement, did the same; and at that moment the union of our hearts
seemed to be cemented by a divine influence, manifested in the fulness
of the gratitude of each. I then raised her from the earth, imprinting
a kiss upon her fair brow, that was hallowed by the purity of the
feeling I had so recently indulged in; and throwing over her shoulders
the mantle of a youth, which I had secreted near the spot, enjoined her
to follow me closely in the path I was about to pursue. As she had
hitherto encountered no fatigue, and was, moreover, well provided with
strong buskins I had brought for the purpose, I thought it advisable to
discontinue the use of the netting, which must attract notice, and
cause us, perhaps, to be followed, in the event of our being met by any
of the hunters that usually traversed these parts. To carry her in my
arms, as I should have preferred, might have excited the same
curiosity, and I was therefore compelled to decide upon her walking;
reserving to myself, however, the sweet task of bearing her in my
embrace over the more difficult parts of our course.

"I have not hitherto found it necessary to state," continued Wacousta,
his brow lowering with fierce and gloomy thought, "that more than once,
latterly, on my return from the oasis, which was usually at a stated
hour, I had observed a hunter hovering near the end of the ledge, yet
quickly retreating as I advanced. There was something in the figure of
this man that recalled to my recollection the form of your father; but
ever, on my return to quarters, I found him in uniform, and exhibiting
any thing but the appearance of one who had recently been threading his
weary way among rocks and fastnesses. Besides, the improbability of
this fact was so great, that it occupied not my attention beyond the
passing moment. On the present occasion, however, I saw the same
hunter, and was more forcibly than ever struck by the resemblance to my
friend. Prior to my quitting the point where I had liberated your
mother from the netting, I had, in addition to the disguise of the
cloak, found it necessary to make some alteration in the arrangement of
her hair; the redundancy of which, as it floated gracefully over her
polished neck, was in itself sufficient to betray her sex. With this
view I had removed her plumed bonnet. It was the first time I had seen
her without it; and so deeply impressed was I by the angel-like
character of the extreme feminine beauty she, more than ever, then
exhibited, that I knelt in silent adoration for some moments at her
feet, my eyes and countenance alone expressing the fervent and almost
holy emotion of my enraptured soul. Had she been a divinity, I could
not have worshipped her with a purer feeling. While I yet knelt, I
fancied I heard a sound behind me; and, turning quickly, beheld the
head of a man peering above a point of rock at some little distance. He
immediately, on witnessing my action, sank again beneath it, but not in
sufficient time to prevent my almost assuring myself that it was the
face of your father I had beheld. My first impulse was to bound
forward, and satisfy myself who it really was who seemed thus ever on
the watch to intercept my movements; but a second rapid reflection
convinced me, that, having been discovered, it was most likely the
intruder had already effected his retreat, and that any attempt at
pursuit might not only alarm your mother, but compromise her safety. I
determined, however, to tax your father with the fact on my return to
quarters; and, from the manner in which he met the charge, to form my
own conclusion.

"Meanwhile we pursued our course; and after an hour's rather laborious
exertion, at length emerged from the succession of glens and rocks that
lay in our way; when, skirting the valley in which the town was
situated, we finally reached the cottage where I had secured my
lodging. Previous to entering it, I had told your mother, that for the
few hours that would intervene before the marriage ceremony could be
performed, I should, by way of lulling the curiosity of her hostess,
introduce her as a near relative of my own. This I did accordingly;
and, having seen that every thing was comfortably arranged for her
convenience, and recommending her strongly to the care of the old
woman, I set off once more in search of the chaplain of the regiment
Before I could reach his residence, however, I was met by a sergeant of
my company, who came running towards me, evidently with some
intelligence of moment. He stated, that my presence was required
without delay. The grenadiers, with the senior subaltern, were in
orders for detachment for an important service; and considerable
displeasure had been manifested by the colonel at my absence,
especially as of late I had greatly neglected my military duties. He
had been looking for me every where, he said, but without success, when
Ensign de Haldimar had pointed out to him in what direction it was
likely I might be found.

"At a calmer moment, I should have been startled at the last
observation; but my mind was too much engrossed with the principal
subject of my regret, to pay any attention to the circumstance. It was
said the detachment would be occupied in this duty a week or ten days,
at least; and how was I to absent myself from her whom I so fondly
loved for this period, without even being permitted first to see and
account to her for my absence? There was torture in the very thought;
and in the height of my impatience, I told the sergeant he might give
my compliments to the colonel, and say I would see the service d--d
rather than inconvenience myself by going out on this duty at so short
a notice; that I had private business of the highest importance to
myself to transact, and could not absent myself. As the man, however,
prepared coolly to depart, it suddenly occurred to me, that I might
prevail on your father to take my duty now, as on former occasions he
had willingly done, and I countermanded my message to the colonel;
desiring him, however, to find out Ensign de Haldimar, and say that I
requested to see him immediately at my quarters, whither I was now
proceeding to change my dress.

"With a beating heart did I assume an uniform that appeared, at that
moment, hideous in my eyes; yet I was not without a hope I might yet
get off this ill-timed duty. Before I had completed my equipment, your
father entered; and when I first glanced my eye full upon his, I
thought his countenance exhibited evidences of confusion. This
immediately reminded me of the unknown hunter, and I asked him if he
was not the person I described. His answer was not a positive denial,
but a mixture of raillery and surprise that lulled my doubts, enfeebled
as they were by the restored calm of his features. I then told him that
I had a particular favour to ask of him, which, in consideration of our
friendship, I trusted he would not refuse; and that was, to take my
duty in the expedition about to set forth. His manner implied concern;
and he asked, with a look that had much deliberate expression in it,
'if I was aware that it was a duty in which blood was expected to be
shed? He could not suppose that any consideration would induce me to
resign my duty to another officer, when apprised of this fact.' All
this was said with the air of one really interested in my honour; but
in my increasing impatience, I told him I wanted none of his cant; I
simply asked him a favour, which he would grant or decline as he
thought proper. This was a harshness of language I had never indulged
in; but my mind was sore under the existing causes of my annoyance, and
I could not bear to have my motives reflected on at a moment when my
heart was torn with all the agonies attendant on the position in which
I found myself placed. His cheek paled and flushed more than once,
before he replied, 'that in spite of my unkindness his friendship might
induce him to do much for me, even as he had hitherto done, but that on
the present occasion it rested not with him. In order to justify
himself he would no longer disguise the fact from me, that the colonel
had declared, in the presence of the whole regiment, I should take my
duty regularly in future, and not be suffered to make a convenience of
the service any longer. If, however, he could do any thing for me
during my absence, I had but to command him.

"While I was yet giving vent, in no very measured terms, to the
indignation I felt at being made the subject of public censure by the
colonel, the same sergeant came into the room, announcing that the
company were only waiting for me to march, and that the colonel desired
my instant presence. In the agitation of my feelings, I scarcely knew
what I did, putting several portions of my regimental equipment on so
completely awry, that your father noticed and rectified the errors I
had committed; while again, in the presence of the sergeant, I
expressed the deepest regret he could not relieve me from a duty that
was hateful to the last degree.

"Torn with agony at the thought of the uncertainty in which I was
compelled to leave her, whom I so fondly adored, I had now no other
alternative than to make a partial confidant of your father. I told him
that in the cottage which I pointed out he would find the original of
the portrait he had seen me painting on a former occasion,--the Cornish
cousin, whose beauty he professed to hold so cheaply. More he should
know of her on my return; but at present I confided her to his honour,
and begged he would prove his friendship for me by rendering her
whatever attention she might require in her humble abode. With these
hurried injunctions he promised to comply; and it has often occurred to
me since, although I did not remark it at the time, that while his
voice and manner were calm, there was a burning glow upon his handsome
cheek, and a suppressed exultation in his eye, that I had never
observed on either before. I then quitted the room; and hastening to my
company with a gloom on--my brow that indicated the wretchedness of my
inward spirit, was soon afterwards on the march from ----."

Again the warrior seemed agitated with the most violent emotion; he
buried his face in his hands; and the silence that ensued was longer
than any he had previously indulged in. At length he made an effort to
arouse himself; and again exhibiting his swarthy features, disclosed a
brow, not clouded, as before, by grief, but animated with the fiercest
and most appalling passions, while he thus impetuously resumed.


"If, hitherto, Clara de Haldimar, I have been minute in the detail of
all that attended my connection with your mother, it has been with a
view to prove to you how deeply I have been injured; but I have now
arrived at a part of my history, when to linger on the past would goad
me into madness, and render me unfit for the purpose to which I have
devoted myself. Brief must be the probing of wounds, that nearly five
lustres have been insufficient to heal; brief the tale that reveals the
infamy of those who have given you birth, and the utter blighting of
the fairest hopes of one whose only fault was that of loving, "not too
wisely, but too well."

"Will you credit the monstrous truth," he added, in a fierce but
composed whisper, while he bent eagerly over the form of the trembling
yet attentive girl, "when I tell you that, on my return from that fatal
expedition, during my continuance on which her image had never once
been absent from my mind, I found Clara Beverley the wife of De
Haldimar? Yes," continued Wacousta, his wounded feeling and mortified
pride chafing, by the bitter recollection, into increasing fury, while
his countenance paled in its swarthiness, "the wife, the wedded wife of
yon false and traitorous governor! Well may you look surprised, Clara
de Haldimar: such damnable treachery as this may startle his own blood
in the veins of another, nor find its justification even in the
devotedness of woman's filial piety. To what satanic arts so
calculating a villain could have had recourse to effect his object I
know not; but it is not the less true, that she, from whom my previous
history must have taught you to expect the purity of intention and
conduct of an angel, became his wife,--and I a being accursed among
men. Even as our common mother is said to have fallen in the garden of
Eden, tempted by the wily beauty of the devil, so did your mother fall,
seduced by that of the cold, false, traitorous De Haldimar." Here the
agitation of Wacousta became terrific. The labouring of his chest was
like that of one convulsed with some racking agony and the swollen
veins and arteries of his head seemed to threaten the extinction of
life in some fearful paroxysm. At length he burst into a violent fit of
tears, more appalling, in one of his iron nature, than the fury which
had preceded it,--and it was many minutes before he could so far
compose himself as to resume.

"Think not, Clara de Haldimar, I speak without the proof. Her own words
confessed, her own lips avowed it, and yet I neither slew her, nor her
paramour, nor myself. On my return to the regiment I had flown to the
cottage, on the wings of the most impatient and tender love that ever
filled the bosom of man for woman. To my enquiries the landlady
replied, that my cousin had been married two days previously, by the
military chaplain, to a handsome young officer, who had visited her
soon after my departure, and was constantly with her from that moment;
and that immediately after the ceremony they had left, but she knew not
whither. Wild, desperate, almost bereft of reason, and with a heart
bounding against my bosom, as if each agonising throb were to be its
last, I ran like a maniac back into the town, nor paused till I found
myself in the presence of your father. My mind was a volcano, but still
I attempted to be calm, even while I charged him, in the most
outrageous terms, with his villainy. Deny it he could not; but, far
from excusing it, he boldly avowed and justified the step he had taken,
intimating, with a smile full of meaning, there was nothing in a
connection with the family of De Haldimar to reflect disgrace on the
cousin of Sir Reginald Morton; and that; the highest compliment he
could pay his friend was to attach himself to one whom that friend had
declared to be so near a relative of his own. There was a coldness of
taunt in these remarks, that implied his sense of the deception I had
practised on him, in regard to the true nature of the relationship; and
for a moment, while my hand firmly grasped the hilt of my sword, I
hesitated whether I should not cut him down at my feet: I had
self-command, however, to abstain from the outrage, and I have often
since regretted I had. My own blood could have been but spilt in
atonement for my just revenge; and as for the obloquy attached to the
memory of the assassin, it could not have been more bitter than that
which has followed me through life. But what do I say?" fiercely
continued the warrior, an exulting ferocity sparkling in his eye, and
animating his countenance; "had he fallen, then my vengeance were but
half complete. No; it is now he shall feel the deadly venom in his
heart, that has so long banqueted on mine.

"Determined to know from her own lips," he pursued, to the shuddering
Clara, whose hopes, hitherto strongly excited, now, began again to fade
beneath the new aspect given to the strange history of this terrible
man;--"determined to satisfy myself from her own acknowledgment,
whether all I had heard was not an imposition, I summoned calmness
enough to desire that your mother might confirm in person the
alienation of her affection, as nothing short of that could convince me
of the truth. He left the room, and presently re-appeared, conducting
her in from another: I thought she looked more beautiful than ever,
but, alas! I had the inexpressible horror to discover, before a word
was uttered, that all the fondness of her nature was indeed transferred
to your father. How I endured the humiliation of that scene has often
been a source of utter astonishment to myself; but I did endure it. To
my wild demand, how she could so soon have forgotten her vows, and
falsified her plighted engagements, she replied, timidly and
confusedly, she had not yet known her own heart; but if she had pained
me by her conduct, she was sorry for it, and hoped I would forgive her.
She would always be happy to esteem me as a friend, but she loved her
Charles far, far better than she had ever loved me. This damning
admission, couched in the same language of simplicity that had first
touched and won my affection, was like boiling lead upon my brain. In a
transport of madness I sprang towards her, caught her in my arms, and
swore she should accompany me back to the oasis--when I had taken her
there, to be regained by my detested rival, if he could; but that he
should not eat the fruit I had plucked at so much peril to myself. She
struggled to disengage herself, calling on your father by the most
endearing epithets to free her from my embrace. He attempted it, and I
struck him senseless to the floor at a single blow with the flat of my
sabre, which in my extreme fury I had unsheathed. Instead, however, of
profiting by the opportunity thus afforded to execute my threat, a
feeling of disgust and contempt came over me, for the woman, whose
inconstancy had been the cause of my committing myself in this
ungentlemanly manner; and bestowing deep but silent curses on her head,
I rushed from the house in a state of frenzy. How often since have I
regretted that I had not pursued my first impulse, and borne her to
some wild, where, forgetting one by whose beauty of person her eye
alone had been seduced, her heart might have returned to its allegiance
to him who had first awakened the sympathies of her soul, and would
have loved her with a love blending the fiercest fires of the eagle
with the gentlest devotedness of the dove. But destiny had differently

"Did my injuries end here?" pursued the dark warrior, as his eye
kindled with rage. "No: for weeks I was insensible to any thing but the
dreadful shock my soul had sustained. A heavy stupor weighed me down,
and for a period it was supposed my reason was overthrown: no such
mercy was reserved for me. The regiment had quitted the Highlands, and
were now stationary in ----, whither I had accompanied it in arrest.
The restoration of my faculties was the signal for new persecutions.
Scarcely had the medical officers reported me fit to sustain the
ordeal, when a court-martial was assembled to try me on a variety of
charges. Who was my prosecutor? Listen, Clara," and he shook her
violently by the arm. "He who had robbed me of all that gave value to
life, and incentive to honour,--he who, under the guise of friendship,
had stolen into the Eden of my love, and left it barren of affection.
In a word, yon detested governor, to whose inhuman cruelty even the son
of my brother has, by some strange fatality of coincidence, so recently
fallen a second sacrifice. Curses, curses on him," he pursued, with
frightful vehemence, half rising as he spoke, and holding forth his
right arm in a menacing attitude; "but the hour of retribution is at
hand, and revenge, the exclusive passion of the gods, shall at length
be mine. In no other country in the world--under no other circumstances
than the present--could I have so secured it.

"What were the charges preferred against me?" he continued, with a
violence that almost petrified the unhappy girl. "Hear them, and judge
whether I have not cause for the inextinguishable hate that rankles at
my heart. Every trifling disobedience of orders--every partial neglect
of duty that could be raked up--was tortured into a specific charge;
and, as I have already admitted I had latterly transgressed not a
little in this respect, these were numerous enough. Yet they were but
preparatory to others of greater magnitude. Next succeeded one that
referred to the message I had given, and countermanded, to the sergeant
of my company, when in the impatience of my disappointment I had
desired him to tell the colonel I would see the service d--d rather
than inconvenience myself at that moment for it. This was unsupported
by other evidence, however, and therefore failed in the proof. But the
web was too closely woven around to admit of my escaping.--Will you,
can you believe any thing half so atrocious, as that your father should
have called on this same man not only to prove the violent and
insubordinate language I had used in reference to the commanding
officer in my own rooms, but also to substantiate a charge of
cowardice, grounded on the unwillingness I had expressed to accompany
the expedition, and the extraordinary trepidation I had evinced, while
preparing for the duty, manifested, as it was stated to be, by the
various errors he had rectified in my equipment with his own hand? Yes,
even this pitiful charge was one of the many preferred; but the
severest was that which he had the unblushing effrontery to make the
subject of public investigation, rather than of private redress--the
blow I had struck him in his own apartments. And who was his witness in
this monstrous charge?--your mother, Clara. Yea, I stood as a criminal
in her presence; and yet she came forward to tender an evidence that
was to consign me to a disgraceful sentence. My vile prosecutor had,
moreover, the encouragement, the sanction of his colonel throughout,
and by him he was upheld in every contemptible charge his ingenuity
could devise. Do you not anticipate the result?--I was found guilty,
and dismissed the service.

"How acted my brother officers, when, previously to the trial, I
alluded to the damnable treachery of your father? Did they condemn his
conduct, or sympathise with me in my misfortune?--No; they shrugged
their shoulders, and coldly observed, I ought to have known better than
to trust one against whom they had so often cautioned me; but that as I
had selected him for my friend, I should have bestowed a whole, and not
a half confidence upon him. He had had the hypocrisy to pretend to them
he had violated no trust, since he had honourably espoused a lady whom
I had introduced to him as a cousin, and in whom I appeared to have no
other interest than that of relationship. Not, they said, that they
believed he actually did entertain that impression; but still the
excuse was too plausible, and had been too well studied by my cunning
rival, to be openly refuted. As for the mere fact of his supplanting
me, they thought it an excellent thing,--a ruse d'amour for which they
never would have given him credit; and although they admitted it was
provoking enough to be ousted out of one's mistress in that cool sort
of way, still I should not so far have forgotten myself as to have
struck him while he was unarmed, when it was so easy to have otherwise
fastened an insult on him. Such," bitterly pursued Wacousta, "was the
consolation I received from men, who, a few short weeks before, had
been sedulous to gain and cultivate my friendship,--but even this was
only vouchsafed antecedent to my trial. When the sentence was
promulgated, announcing my dismissal from the service, every back was
turned upon me, as though I had been found guilty of some dishonourable
action or some disgraceful crime; and, on the evening of the same day,
when I threw from me for ever an uniform that I now loathed from my
inmost soul, there was not one among those who had often banqueted at
my expense, who had the humanity to come to me and say, 'Sir Reginald
Morton, farewell.'

"What agonies of mind I endured,--what burning tears I nightly shed
upon a pillow I was destined to press in freezing loneliness,--what
hours of solitude I passed, far from the haunts of my fellow-men, and
forming plans of vengeance,--it would take much longer time to relate
than I have actually bestowed on my unhappy history. To comprehend
their extent and force, you must understand the heart of fire in which
the deep sense of injury had taken root; but the night wears away, and
briefly told must be the remainder of my tale. The rebellion of
forty-five saw me in arms in the Scottish ranks; and, in one instance,
opposed to the regiment from which I had been so ignominiously
expelled. Never did revenge glow like a living fire in the heart of man
as it did in mine; for the effect of my long brooding in solitude had
been to inspire me with a detestation, not merely for those who had
been most rancorous in their enmity, but for every thing that wore the
uniform, from the commanding officer down to the meanest private. Every
blow that I dealt, every life that I sacrificed, was an insult washed
away from my attainted honour; but him whom I most sought in the melee
I never could reach. At length the corps to which I had attached myself
was repulsed; and I saw, with rage in my heart, that my enemy still
lived to triumph in the fruit of his villainy.

"Although I was grown considerably in stature at this period, and was
otherwise greatly altered in appearance, I had been recognised in the
action by numbers of the regiment; and, indeed, more than once I had,
in the intoxication of my rage, accompanied the blow that slew or
maimed one of my former associates with a declaration of the name of
him who inflicted it. The consequence was, I was denounced as a rebel
and an outlaw, and a price was put upon my head. Accustomed, however,
as I had ever been, to rocks and fastnesses, I had no difficulty in
eluding the vigilance of those who were sent in pursuit of me; and thus
compelled to live wholly apart from my species, I at length learned to
hate them, and to know that man is the only enemy of man upon earth.

"A change now came ever the spirit of my vengeance; for about this
period your mother died. I had never ceased to love, even while I
despised her; and notwithstanding, had she, after her flagrant
inconstancy, thrown herself into my arms, I should have rejected her
with scorn, still I was sensible no other woman could ever supply her
place in my affection. She was, in truth, the only being I had ever
looked upon with fondness; and deeply even as I had been injured by
her, I wept her memory with many a scalding tear. This, however, only
increased my hatred for him who had rioted in her beauty, and
supplanted me in her devotedness. I had the means of learning,
occasionally, all that passed in the regiment; and the same account
that brought me the news of your mother's death also gave me the
intelligence that three children had been the fruit of her union with
De Haldimar. How," pursued Wacousta, with bitter energy, "shall I
express the deep loathing I felt for those children? It seemed to me as
if their existence had stamped a seal of infamy on my own brow; and I
hated them, even in their childhood, as the offspring of an abhorred,
and, as it appeared to me, an unnatural union. I heard, moreover (and
this gave me pleasure), that their father doated on them; and from that
moment I resolved to turn his cup of joy into bitterness, even as he
had turned mine. I no longer sought his life; for the jealousy that had
half impelled that thirst existed no longer: but, deeming his cold
nature at least accessible through his parental affection, I was
resolved that in his children he should suffer a portion of the agonies
he had inflicted on me. I waited, however, until they should be grown
up to an age when the heart of the parent would be more likely to mourn
their loss; and then I was determined my vengeance should be complete.

"Circumstances singularly favoured my design. Many years afterwards,
the regiment formed one of the expedition against Quebec under General
Wolfe. They were commanded by your father, who, in the course of
promotion, had obtained the lieutenant-colonelcy; and I observed by the
army list, that a subaltern of the same name, whom I presumed to be his
eldest son, was in the corps. Here was a field for my vengeance beyond
any I could have hoped for. I contrived to pass over into Cornwall, the
ban of outlawry being still unrepealed; and having procured from my
brother a sum sufficient for my necessities, and bade him an eternal
farewell, embarked in a fishing-boat for the coast of France, whence I
subsequently took a passage to this country. At Montreal I found the
French general, who gladly received my allegiance as a subject of
France, and gave me a commission in one of the provincial corps that
usually served in concert with our Indian allies. With the general I
soon became a favourite; and, as a mark of his confidence at the attack
on Quebec, he entrusted me with the command of a detached irregular
force, consisting partly of Canadians and partly of Indians, intended
to harass the flanks of the British army. This gave me an opportunity
of being at whatever point of the field I might think most favourable
to my design; and I was too familiar with the detested uniform of the
regiment not to be able to distinguish it from afar. In a word, Clara,
for I am weary of my own tale, in that engagement I had an opportunity
of recognising your brother. He struck me by his martial appearance as
he encouraged his grenadiers to the attack of the French columns; and,
as I turned my eye upon him in admiration, I was stung to the soul by
his resemblance to his father. Vengeance thrilled throughout every
fibre of my frame at that moment. The opportunity I had long sought was
at length arrived; and already, in anticipation, I enjoyed the conquest
his fall would occasion to my enemy. I rushed within a few feet of my
victim; but the bullet aimed at his heart was received in the breast of
a faithful soldier, who had flown to intercept it. How I cursed the
meddler for his officiousness!"

"Oh, that soldier was your nephew," eagerly interrupted Clara, pointing
towards her companion, who had fallen into a profound slumber, "the
husband of this unfortunate woman. Frank Halloway (for by that name was
he alone known in the regiment) loved my brother as though he had been
of the same blood. He it was who flew to receive the ball that was
destined for another. But I nursed him on his couch of suffering, and
with my own hands prepared his food and dressed his wound. Oh, if pity
can touch your heart (and I will not believe that a heart that once
felt as you say yours has felt can be inaccessible to pity), let the
recollection of your nephew's devotedness to my mother's child disarm
you of vengeance, and induce you to restore us!"

"Never!" thundered Wacousta,--"never! The very circumstance you have
now named is an additional incentive to my vengeance. My nephew saved
the life of your brother at the hazard of his own; and how has he been
rewarded for the generous deed? By an ignominious death, inflicted,
perhaps, for some offence not more dishonouring than those which have
thrown me an outcast upon these wilds; and that at the command and in
the presence of the father of him whose life he was fool enough to
preserve. Yet, what but ingratitude of the grossest nature could a
Morton expect at the hands of the false family of De Haldimar! They
were destined to be our bane, and well have they fulfilled the end for
which they were created."

"Almighty Providence!" aspirated the sinking Clara, as she turned her
streaming eyes to heaven; "can it be that the human heart can undergo
such change? Can this be the being who once loved my mother with a
purity and tenderness of affection that angels themselves might hallow
with approval; or is all that I have heard but a bewildering dream?"

"No, Clara," calmly and even solemnly returned the warrior; "it is no
dream, but a reality--a sad, dreadful, heart-rending reality; yet, if I
am that altered being, to whom is the change to be ascribed? Who turned
the generous current of my blood into a river of overflowing gall? Who,
when my cup was mantling with the only bliss I coveted upon earth,
traitorously emptied it, and substituted a heart-corroding poison in
its stead? Who blighted my fair name, and cast me forth an alien in the
land of my forefathers? Who, in a word, cut me off from every joy that
existence can impart to man? Who did all this? Your father! But these
are idle words. What I have been, you know; what I now am, and through
what agency I have been rendered what I now am, you know also. Not more
fixed is fate than my purpose. Your brother dies even on the spot on
which my nephew died; and you, Clara, shall be my bride; and the first
thing your children shall be taught to lisp shall be curses on the vile
name of De Haldimar!"

"Once more, in the name of my sainted mother, I implore you to have
mercy," shrieked the unhappy Clara. "Oh!" she continued, with vehement
supplication, "let the days of your early love be brought back to' your
memory, that your heart may be softened; and cut yourself not wholly
off from your God, by the commission of such dreadful outrages. Again I
conjure you, restore us to my father."

"Never!" savagely repeated Wacousta. "I have passed years of torture in
the hope of such an hour as this; and now that fruition is within my
grasp, may I perish if I forego it! Ha, sir!" turning from the almost
fainting Clara to Sir Everard, who had listened with deep attention to
the history of this extraordinary man;--"for this," and he thrust aside
the breast of his hunting coat, exhibiting the scar of a long but
superficial wound,--"for this do you owe me a severe reckoning. I would
recommend you, however,"--and he spoke in mockery,--"when next you
drive a weapon into the chest of an unresisting enemy, to be more
certain of your aim. Had that been as true as the blow from the butt of
your rifle, I should not have lived to triumph in this hour. I little
deemed," he pursued, still addressing the nearly heart-broken officer
in the same insolent strain, "that my intrigue with that dark-eyed
daughter of the old Canadian would have been the means of throwing your
companion so speedily into my power, after his first narrow escape.
Your disguise was well managed, I confess; and but that there is an
instinct about me, enabling me to discover a De Haldimar, as a hound
does the deer, by scent, you might have succeeded in passing for what
you appeared. But" (and his tone suddenly changed its irony for
fierceness) "to the point, sir. That you are the lover of this girl I
clearly perceive, and death were preferable to a life embittered by the
recollection that she whom we love reposes in the arms of another. No
such kindness is meant you, however. To-morrow you shall return to the
fort; and, when there, you may tell your colonel, that, in exchange for
a certain miniature and letters, which, in the hurry of departure, I
dropped in his apartment, some ten days since, Sir Reginald Morton, the
outlaw, has taken his daughter Clara to wife, but without the
solemnisation of those tedious forms that bound himself in accursed
union with her mother. Oh! what would I not give," he continued,
bitterly, "to witness the pang inflicted on his false heart, when first
the damning truth arrests his ear. Never did I know the triumph of my
power until now; for what revenge can be half so sweet as that which
attains a loathed enemy through the dishonour of his child? But, hark!
what mean those sounds?"

A loud yelling was now heard at some distance in rear of the tent.
Presently the bounding of many feet on the turf was distinguishable;
and then, at intervals, the peculiar cry that announces the escape of a
prisoner. Wacousta started to his feet, and fiercely grasping his
tomahawk, advanced to the front of the tent, where he seemed to listen
for a moment attentively, as if endeavouring to catch the direction of
the pursuit.

"Ha! by Heaven!" he exclaimed, "there must be treachery in this, or yon
slippery captain would not so soon be at his flight again, bound as I
had bound him." Then uttering a deafening yell, and rushing past Sir
Everard, near whom he paused an instant, as if undecided whether he
should not first dispose of him, as a precautionary measure, he flew
with the speed of an antelope in the direction in which he was guided
by the gradually receding sounds.

"The knife, Miss de Haldimar," exclaimed Sir Everard, after a few
moments of breathless and intense anxiety. "See, there is one in the
belt that Ellen Halloway has girt around her loins. Quick, for Heaven's
sake, quick; our only chance of safety is in this."

With an activity arising from her despair, the unhappy Clara sprang
from the rude couch on which she had been left by Wacousta, and,
stooping over the form of the maniac, extended her hand to remove the
weapon from her side; but Ellen, who had been awakened from her long
slumber by the yells just uttered, seemed resolute to prevent it. A
struggle for its possession now ensued between these frail and delicate
beings; in which Clara, however, had the advantage, not only from the
recumbent position of her opponent, but from the greater security of
her grasp. At length, with a violent effort, she contrived to disengage
it from the sheath, around which Ellen had closely clasped both her
hands; but, with the quickness of thought, the latter were again
clenched round the naked blade, and without any other evident motive
than what originated in the obstinacy of her madness, the unfortunate
woman fiercely attempted to wrest it away. In the act of doing so, her
hands were dreadfully cut; and Clara, shocked at the sight of the blood
she had been the means of shedding, lost all the energy she had
summoned, and sunk senseless at the feet of the maniac, who now began
to utter the most piteous cries.

"Oh, God! we are lost," exclaimed Sir Everard; "the voice of that
wretched woman has alarmed our enemy, and even now I hear him
approaching. Quick, Clara, give me the knife. But no, it is now too
late; he is here."

At that instant, the dark form of a warrior rushed noiselessly to the
spot on which he stood. The officer turned his eyes in desperation on
his enemy, but a single glance was sufficient to assure him it was not
Wacousta. The Indian paused not in his course, but passing close round
the tree to which the baronet was attached, made a circular movement,
that brought him in a line with the direction that had been taken by
his enemy; and again they were left alone.

A new fear now oppressed the heart of the unfortunate Valletort, even
to agony: Clara still lay senseless, speechless, before him; and his
impression was, that, in the struggle, Ellen Halloway had murdered her.
The latter yet continued her cries; and, as she held up her hands, he
could see by the fire-light they were covered with blood. An
instinctive impulse caused him to bound forward to the assistance of
the motionless Clara; when, to his infinite surprise and joy, he
discovered the cord, which had bound him to the tree, to be severed.
The Indian who had just passed had evidently been his deliverer; and a
sudden flash of recollection recalled the figure of the young warrior
that had escaped from the schooner and was supposed to have leaped into
the canoe of Oucanasta at the moment when Madeline de Haldimar was
removed into that of the Canadian.

In a transport of conflicting feelings, Sir Everard now raised the
insensible Clara from the ground; and, having satisfied himself she had
sustained no serious injury, prepared for a flight which he felt to be
desperate, if not altogether hopeless. There was not a moment to be
lost, for the cries of the wretched Ellen increased in violence, as she
seemed sensible she was about to be left utterly alone; and ever and
anon, although afar off, yet evidently drawing nearer, was to be heard
the fierce denouncing yell of Wacousta. The spot on which the officer
stood, was not far from that whence his unfortunate friend had
commenced his flight on the first memorable occasion; and as the moon
shone brightly in the cloudless heavens, there could be no mistake in
the course he was to pursue. Dashing down the steep, therefore, with
all the speed his beloved burden would enable him to attain, he made
immediately for the bridge, over which his only chance of safety lay.

It unfortunately happened, however, that, induced either by the malice
of her insanity, or really terrified at the loneliness of her position,
the wretched Ellen Halloway had likewise quitted the tent, and now
followed close in the rear of the fugitives, still uttering the same
piercing cries of anguish. The voice of Wacousta was also again heard
in the distance; and Sir Everard had the inexpressible horror to find
that, guided by the shrieks of the maniac woman, he was now shaping his
course, not to the tent where he had left his prisoners, but in an
oblique direction towards the bridge; where he evidently hoped to
intercept them. Aware of the extreme disadvantages under which he
laboured in a competition of speed with his active enemy, the unhappy
officer would have here terminated the struggle, had he not been
partially sustained by the hope that the detachment prayed for by De
Haldimar, through the friendly young chief, to whom he owed his own
liberation, might be about this time on its way to attempt their
rescue. This thought supported his faltering resolution, although
nearly exhausted with his efforts--compelled, as he was, to sustain the
motionless form of the slowly reviving Clara; and he again braced
himself to the unequal flight The moon still shone beautifully bright,
and he could now distinctly see the bridge over which he was to pass;
but notwithstanding he strained his eyes as he advanced, no vestige of
a British uniform was to be seen in the open space that lay beyond.
Once he turned to regard his pursuers. Ellen was a few yards only in
his rear; and considerably beyond her rose, in tall relief against the
heavens, the gigantic form of the warrior. The pursuit of the latter
was now conducted with a silence that terrified even more than the
yells he had previously uttered; and he gained so rapidly on his
victims, that the tread of his large feet was now distinctly audible.
Again the officer, with despair in his heart, made the most incredible
exertions to reach the bridge, without seeming to reflect that, even
when there, no security was offered him against his enemy. Once, as he
drew nearer, he fancied he saw the dark heads of human beings peering
from under that part of the arch which had afforded cover to De
Haldimar and himself oh the memorable occasion of their departure with
the Canadian; and, convinced that the warriors of Wacousta had been
sent there to lie in ambuscade and intercept his retreat, his hopes
were utterly paralysed; and although he stopped not, his flight was
rather mechanical than the fruit of any systematic plan of escape.

He had now gained the extremity of the bridge, with Ellen Halloway and
Wacousta close in his rear, when suddenly the heads of many men were
once more distinguishable, even in the shadow of the arch that overhung
the sands of the river. Three individuals detached themselves from the
group and leaping upon the further extremity of the bridge, moved
rapidly to meet him. Meanwhile the baronet had stopped suddenly, as if
in doubt whether to advance or to recede. His suspense was but
momentary. Although the persons of these men were disguised as Indian
warriors, the broad moonlight that beamed full on their countenances,
disclosed the well-remembered features of Blessington, Erskine, and
Charles de Haldimar. The latter sprang before his companions, and,
uttering a cry of joy, sank in speechless agony on the neck of his
still unconscious sister.

"For God's sake, free me, De Haldimar!" exclaimed the excited baronet,
disengaging his charge from the embrace of his friend. "This is no
moment for congratulation. Erskine, Blessington, see you not who is
behind me? Be upon your guard; defend your lives!" And as he spoke, he
rushed forward with feint and tottering steps to place his companions
between the unhappy girl and the danger that threatened her.

The swords of the officers were drawn; but instead of advancing upon
the formidable being, who stood as if paralysed at this unexpected
rencontre, the two seniors contented themselves with assuming a
defensive attitude,--retiring slowly and gradually towards the other
extremity of the bridge.

Overcome by his emotion, Charles de Haldimar had not noticed this
action of his companions, and stood apparently riveted to the spot. The
voice of Blessington calling on him by name to retire, seemed to arouse
the dormant consciousness of the unhappy maniac. She uttered a piercing
shriek, and, springing forward, sank on her knees at his feet,
exclaiming, as she forcibly detained him by his dress,--

"Almighty Heaven! where am I? surely that was Captain Blessington's
kind voice I heard; and you--you are Charles de Haldimar. Oh! save my
husband; plead for him with your father!----but no," she continued
wildly,--"he is dead--he is murdered! Behold these hands all covered
with his blood! Oh!----"

"Ha! another De Haldimar!" exclaimed Wacousta, recovering his
slumbering energies, "this spot seems indeed fated for our meeting.
More than thrice have I been balked of my just revenge, but now will I
secure it. Thus, Ellen, do I avenge your husband's and my nephew's
death. My own wrongs demand another sacrifice. But, ha! where is she?
where is Clara? where is my bride?"

Bounding over the ill-fated De Haldimar, who lay, even in death, firmly
clasped in the embrace of the wretched Ellen, the fierce man dashed
furiously forward to renew his pursuit of the fugitives. But suddenly
the extremity of the bridge was filled with a column of armed men, that
kept issuing from the arch beneath. Sensible of his danger, he sought
to make good his retreat; but when he turned for the purpose, the same
formidable array met his view at the opposite extremity; and both
parties now rapidly advanced in double quick time, evidently with a
view of closing upon and taking him prisoner. In this dilemma, his only
hope was in the assistance that might be rendered him by his warriors.
A yell, so terrific as to be distinctly heard in the fort itself, burst
from his vast chest, and rolled in prolonged echoes through the forest.
It was faintly answered from the encampment, and met by deep but
noiseless curses from the exasperated soldiery, whom the sight of their
murdered officer was momentarily working into frenzy.

"Kill him not, for your lives!--I command you, men, kill him not!"
muttered Captain Blessington with suppressed passion, as his troops
were preparing to immolate him on their clustering bayonets. "Such a
death were, indeed, mercy to such a villain."

"Ha! ha!" laughed Wacousta in bitter scorn; "who is there of all your
accursed regiment who will dare to take him alive?" Then brandishing
his tomahawk around him, to prevent their finally closing, he dealt his
blows with such astonishing velocity, that no unguarded point was left
about his person; and more than one soldier was brought to the earth in
the course of the unequal struggle.

"By G--d!" said Captain Erskine, "are the two best companies of the
regiment to be kept at bay by a single desperado? Shame on ye, fellows!
If his hands are too many for you, lay him by the heels."

This ruse was practised with success. In attempting to defend himself
from the attack of those who sought to throw him down, the warrior
necessarily left his upper person exposed; when advantage was taken to
close with him and deprive him of the play of his arms. It was not,
however, without considerable difficulty, that they succeeded in
disarming and binding his hands; after which a strong cord being
fastened round his waist, he was tightly lashed to a gun, which,
contrary to the original intention of the governor, had been sent out
with the expedition. The retreat of the detachment then commenced
rapidly; but it was not without being hotly pursued by the band of
warriors the yell of Wacousta had summoned in pursuit, that they
finally gained the fort: under what feelings of sorrow for the fate of
an officer so beloved, we leave it to our readers to imagine.


The morning of the next day dawned on few who had pressed their
customary couches--on none, whose feverish pulse and bloodshot eye
failed to attest the utter sleeplessness in which the night had been
passed. Numerous groups of men were to be seep assembling after the
reveille, in various parts of the barrack square--those who had borne a
part in the recent expedition commingling with those who had not, and
recounting to the latter, with mournful look and voice, the
circumstances connected with the bereavement of their universally
lamented officer. As none, however, had seen the blow struck that
deprived him of life, although each had heard the frantic exclamations
of a voice that had been recognised for Ellen Halloway's, much of the
marvellous was necessarily mixed up with truth in their
narrative,--some positively affirming Mr. de Haldimar had not once
quitted his party, and declaring that nothing short of a supernatural
agency could have transported him unnoticed to the fatal spot, where,
in their advance, they had beheld him murdered. The singular appearance
of Ellen Halloway also, at that moment, on the very bridge on which she
had pronounced her curse on the family of De Haldimar, and in company
with the terrible and mysterious being who had borne her off in triumph
on that occasion to the forest, and under circumstances calculated to
excite the most superstitious impressions, was not without its weight
in determining their rude speculations; and all concurred in opinion,
that the death of the unfortunate young officer was a judgment on their
colonel for the little mercy he had extended to the noble-hearted

Then followed allusion to their captive, whose gigantic stature and
efforts at escape, tremendous even as the latter were, were duly
exaggerated by each, with the very laudable view of claiming a
proportionate share of credit for his own individual exertions; and
many and various were the opinions expressed as to the manner of death
he should be made to suffer. Among the most conspicuous of the orators
were those with whom our readers have already made slight acquaintance
in our account of the sortie by Captain Erskine's company for the
recovery of the supposed body of Frederick de Haldimar. One was for
impaling him alive, and setting him up to rot on the platform above the
gate. Another for blowing him from the muzzle of a twenty-four pounder,
into the centre of the first band of Indians that approached the fort,
that thus perceiving they had lost the strength and sinew of their
cunning war, they might be the more easily induced to propose terms of
peace. A third was of opinion he ought to be chained to the top of the
flag-staff, as a target, to be shot at with arrows only, contriving
never to touch a mortal part. A fourth would have had him tied naked
over the sharp spikes that constituted the chevaux-de-frize garnishing
the sides of the drawbridge. Each devised some new death--proposed some
new torture; but all were of opinion, that simply to be shot, or even
to be hanged, was too merciful a punishment for the wretch who had so
wantonly and inhumanly butchered the kind-hearted, gentle-mannered
officer, whom they had almost all known and loved from his very
boyhood; and they looked forward, with mingled anxiety and vengeance,
to the moment when, summoned as it was expected he shortly would be,
before the assembled garrison, he would be made to expiate the atrocity
with his blood.

While the men thus gave indulgence to their indignation and their
grief, their officers were even mere painfully affected. The body of
the ill-fated Charles had been borne to his apartment, where, divested
of its disguise, it had again been inducted in such apparel as was
deemed suited to the purpose. Extended on the very bed on which he lay
at the moment when she, whose maniac raving, and forcible detention,
had been the immediate cause of his destruction, had preferred her wild
but fruitless supplication for mercy, he exhibited, even in death, the
same delicate beauty that had characterised him on that occasion; yet,
with a mildness and serenity of expression on his still, pale features,
strongly in contrast with the agitation and glow of excitement that
then distinguished him. Never was human loveliness in death so marked
as in Charles de Haldimar; and but for the deep wound that, dividing
his clustering locks, had entered from the very crown of the head to
the opening of his marble brow, one ignorant of his fate might have
believed he but profoundly slept. Several women of the regiment were
occupied in those offices about the corpse, which women alone are
capable of performing at such moments, and as they did so, suffered
their tears to flow silently yet abundantly over him, who was no longer
sensible either of human grief or of human joy. Close at the head of
the bed stood an old man, with his face buried in his hands; the latter
reposing against the wainscoting of the room. He, too, wept, but his
weeping was more audible, more painful, and accompanied by suffocating
sobs. It was the humble, yet almost paternally attached servant of the
defunct--the veteran Morrison.

Around the bed were grouped nearly all the officers, standing in
attitudes indicative of anxiety and interest, and gazing mournfully on
the placid features of their ill-fated friend. All, on entering, moved
noiselessly over the rude floor, as though fearful of disturbing the
repose of one who merely slumbered; and the same precaution was
extended to the brief but heartfelt expressions of sorrow that passed,
from one to the other, as they gazed on all that remained of the gentle
De Haldimar. At length the preparations of the women having been
completed, they retired from the room, leaving one of their number
only, rather out of respect than necessity, to remain by the corpse.
When they were departed, this woman, the wife of one of Blessington's
sergeants, and the same who had been present at the scene between Ellen
Halloway and the deceased, cut off a large lock of his beautiful hair,
and separating it into small tresses, handed one to each of the
officers. This considerate action, although unsolicited on the part of
the latter, deeply touched them, as indicating a sense of the high
estimation in which the youth bad been held. It was a tribute to the
memory of him they mourned, of the purest kind; and each, as he
received his portion, acknowledged with a mournful but approving look,
or nod, or word, the motive that bad prompted the offering. Nor was it
a source of less satisfaction, melancholy even as that satisfaction
was, to perceive that, after having set aside another lock, probably
for the sister of the deceased, she selected and consigned to the bosom
of her dress a third, evidently intended for herself. The whole scene
was in striking contrast with the almost utter absence of all
preparation or concern that had preceded the interment of Murphy, on a
former occasion. In one, the rude soldier was mourned,--in the other,
the gentle friend was lamented; nor the latter alone by the companions
to whom intimacy had endeared him, but by those humbler dependants, who
knew him only through those amiable attributes of character, which were
ever equally extended to all. Gradually the officers now moved away in
the same noiseless manner in which they had approached, either in
pursuance of their several duties, or to make their toilet of the
morning. Two only of their number remained near the couch of death.

"Poor unfortunate De Haldimar!" observed one of these, in a low tone,
as if speaking to himself; "too fatally, indeed, have your forebodings
been realised; and what I considered as the mere despondency of a mind
crashed into feebleness by an accumulation of suffering, was, after
all, but the first presentiment of a death no human power might avert.
By Heaven! I would give up half my own being to be able to reanimate
that form once more,--but the wish is vain."

"Who shall announce the intelligence to his sister?" sighed his
companion. "Never will that already nearly heart-broken girl be able to
survive the shock of her brother's death. Blessington, you alone are
fitted to such a task; and, painful as it is, you must undertake it. Is
the colonel apprised of the dreadful truth, do you know?"

"He is. It was told him at the moment of our arrival last night; but
from the little outward emotion displayed by him, I should be tempted
to infer he had almost anticipated some such catastrophe."

"Poor, poor Charles!" bitterly exclaimed Sir Everard Valletort--for it
was he. "What would I not give to recall the rude manner in which I
spurned you from me last night. But, alas! what could I do, laden with
such a trust, and pursued, without the power of defence, by such an
enemy? Little, indeed, did I imagine what was so speedily to be your
doom! Blessington," he pursued, with increased emotion, "it grieves me
to wretchedness to think that he, whom I loved as though he had been my
twin brother, should have perished with his last thoughts, perhaps,
lingering on the seeming unkindness with which I had greeted him after
so anxious an absence."

"Nay, if there be blame, it must attach to me," sorrowfully observed
Captain Blessington. "Had Erskine and myself not retired before the
savage, as we did, our unfortunate friend would in all probability have
been alive at this very hour. But in our anxiety to draw the former
into the ambuscade we had prepared for him, we utterly overlooked that
Charles was not retreating with us."

"How happened it," demanded Sir Everard, his attention naturally
directed to the subject by the preceding remarks, "that you lay thus in
ambuscade, when the object of the expedition, as solicited by Frederick
de Haldimar, was an attempt to reach us in the encampment of the

"It certainly was under that impression we left the fort; but, on
coming to the spot where the friendly Indian lay waiting to conduct us,
he proposed the plan we subsequently adopted as the most likely, not
only to secure the escape of the prisoners, whom he pledged himself to
liberate, but to defend ourselves with advantage against Wacousta and
the immediate guard set over them, should they follow in pursuit.
Erskine approving, as well as myself, of the plan, we halted at the
bridge, and disposed of our men under each extremity; so that, if
attacked by the Indians in front, we might be enabled to throw them
into confusion by taking them in rear, as they flung themselves upon
the bridge. The event seemed to answer our expectations. The alarm
raised in the encampment satisfied us the young Indian had contrived to
fulfil his promise; and we momentarily looked for the appearance of
those whose flight we naturally supposed would be directed towards the
bridge. To our great surprise, however, we remarked that the sounds of
pursuit, instead of approaching us, seemed to take an opposite
direction, apparently towards the point whence we had seen the
prisoners disembarked in the morning. At length, when almost tempted to
regret we had not pushed boldly on, in conformity with our first
intention, we heard the shrill cries of a woman; and, not long
afterwards, the sounds of human feet rushing down the slope. What our
sensations were, you may imagine; for we all believed it to be either
Clara or Madeline de Haldimar fleeing alone, and pursued by our
ferocious enemies. To show ourselves would, we were sensible, be to
ensure the death of the pursued, before we could possibly come up; and,
although it was with difficulty we repressed the desire to rush forward
to the rescue, our better judgment prevailed. Finally we saw you
approach, followed closely by what appeared to be a mere boy of an
Indian, and, at a considerable distance, by the tall warrior of the
Fleur de lis. We imagined there was time enough for you to gain the
bridge; and finding your more formidable pursuer was only accompanied
by the youth already alluded to, conceived at that moment the design of
making him our prisoner. Still there were half a dozen muskets ready to
be levelled on him should he approach too near to his fugitives, or
manifest any other design than that of simply recapturing them. How
well our plan succeeded you are aware; but, alas!" and he glanced
sorrowfully at the corpse, "why was our success to be embittered by so
great a sacrifice?"

"Ah, would to Heaven that he at least had been spared," sighed Sir
Everard, as he took the wan white hand of his friend in his own; "and
yet I know not: he looks so calm, so happy in death, it is almost
selfish to repine he has escaped the horrors that still await us in
this dreadful warfare. But what of Frederick and Madeline de Haldimar?
From the statement you have given, they must have been liberated by the
young Ottawa before he came to me; yet, what could have induced them to
have taken a course of flight so opposite to that which promised their
only chance of safety?"

"Heaven only knows," returned Captain Blessington. "I fear they have
again been recaptured by the savages; in which case their doom is
scarcely doubtful; unless, indeed, our prisoner of last night be given
up in exchange for them."

"Then will their liberty be purchased at a terrible price," remarked
the baronet. "Will you believe, Blessington, that that man, whose
enmity to our colonel seems almost devilish, was once an officer in
this very regiment?"

"You astonish me, Valletort.--Impossible! and yet it has always been
apparent to me they were once associates."

"I heard him relate his history only last night to Clara, whom he had
the audacity to sully with proposals to become his bride," pursued the
baronet. "His tale was a most extraordinary one. He narrated it,
however, only up to the period when the life of De Haldimar was
attempted by him at Quebec. But with his subsequent history we are all
acquainted, through the fame of his bloody atrocities in all the posts
that have fallen into the hands of Ponteac. That man, savage and even
fiendish as he now is, was once possessed of the noblest qualities. I
am sorry to say it; but Colonel de Haldimar has brought this present
affliction upon himself. At some future period I will tell you all."

"Alas!" said Captain Blessington, "poor Charles, then, has been made to
pay the penalty of his father's errors; and, certainly, the greatest of
these was his dooming the unfortunate Halloway to death in the manner
he did."

"What think you of the fact of Halloway being the nephew of this
extraordinary man, and both of high family?" demanded Sir Everard.

"Indeed! and was the latter, then, aware of the connection?"

"Not until last night," replied Sir Everard. "Some observations made by
the wretched wife of Halloway, in the course of which she named his
true name, (which was that of the warrior also,) first indicated the
fact to the latter. But, what became of that unfortunate creature?--was
she brought in?"

"I understand not," said Captain Blessington. "In the confusion and
hurry of securing our prisoner, and the apprehension of immediate
attack from his warriors, Ellen was entirely overlooked. Some of my men
say they left her lying, insensible, on the spot whence they had raised
the body of our unfortunate friend, which they had some difficulty in
releasing from her convulsive embrace. But, hark! there is the first
drum for parade, and I have not yet exchanged my Indian garb."

Captain Blessington now quitted the room, and Sir Everard, relieved
from the restraining presence of his companions, gave free vent to his
emotion, throwing himself upon the body of his friend, and giving
utterance to the feelings of anguish that oppressed his heart.

He had continued some minutes in this position, when he fancied he felt
the warm tears of a human being bedewing a hand that reposed on the
neck of his unfortunate friend. He looked up, and, to his infinite
surprise, beheld Clara de Haldimar standing before him at the opposite
side of the bed. Her likeness to her brother, at that moment, was so
striking, that, for a second or two, the irrepressible thought passed
through the mind of the officer, it was not a living being he gazed
upon, but the immaterial spirit of his friend. The whole attitude and
appearance of the wretched girl, independently of the fact of her
noiseless entrance, tended to favour the delusion. Her features, of an
ashy paleness, seemed fixed, even as those of the corpse beneath him;
and, but for the tears that coursed silently down her cheek, there was
scarcely an outward evidence of emotion. Her dress was a simple white
robe, fastened round her waist with a pale blue riband; and over her
shoulders hung her redundant hair, resembling in colour, and disposed
much in the manner of that of her brother, which had been drawn
negligently down to conceal the wound on his brow. For some moments the
baronet gazed at her in speechless agony. Her tranquil exterior was
torture to him; for he, feared it betokened some alienation of reason.
He would have preferred to witness the most hysteric convulsion of
grief, rather than that traitorous calm; and yet he had not the power
to seek to remove it.

"You are surprised to see me here, mingling my grief with yours, Sir
Everard," she at length observed, with the same calm mien, and in tones
of touching sweetness. "I came, with my father's permission, to take a
last farewell of him whose death has broken my heart. I expected to be
alone; but--Nay, do not go," she added, perceiving that the officer was
about to depart. "Had you not been here, I should have sent for you;
for we have both a sacred duty to perform. May I not ask your hand?"

More and more dismayed at her collected manner, the young officer gazed
at her with the deepest sorrow depicted in every line of his own
countenance. He extended his hand, and Clara, to his surprise, grasped
and pressed it firmly.

"It was the wish of this poor boy that his Clara should be the wife of
his friend, Sir Everard. Did he ever express such to you?"

"It was the fondest desire of his heart," returned the baronet, unable
to restrain the emotion of joy that mingled, despite of himself, with
his worst apprehensions.

"I need not ask how you received his proposal," continued Clara, with
the same calmness of manner. "Last night," she pursued solemnly, "I was
the bride of the murderer of my brother, of the lover of my
mother,--tomorrow night I may be the bride of death; but to-night I am
the bride of my brother's friend. Yes, here am I come to pledge myself
to the fulfilment of his wish. If you deem a heart-broken girl not
unworthy of you, I am your wife, Sir Everard; and, recollect, it is a
solemn pledge, that which a sister gives over the lifeless body of a
brother, beloved as this has been."

"Oh, Clara--dearest Clara," passionately exclaimed the excited young
man, "if a life devoted to your happiness can repay you for this, count
upon it as you would upon your eternal salvation. In you will I love
both my friend and the sister he has bequeathed to me. Clara, my
betrothed wife, summon all the energies of your nature to sustain this
cruel shock; and exert yourself for him who will be to you both a
brother and a husband."

As he spoke he drew the unresisting girl towards him, and, locking her
in his embrace, pressed, for the first time, the lips, which it had
maddened him the preceding night to see polluted by the forcible kisses
of Wacousta. But Clara shared not, but merely suffered his momentary
happiness. Her cheek wore not the crimson of excitement, neither were
her tears discontinued. She seemed as one who mechanically submitted to
what she had no power of resistance to oppose; and even in the embrace
of her affianced husband, she exhibited the same deathlike calm that
had startled him at her first appearance. Religion could not hallow a
purer feeling than that which had impelled the action of the young
officer. The very consciousness of the sacred pledge having been
exchanged over the corpse of his friend, imparted a holiness of fervour
to his mind; and even while he pressed her, whom he secretly swore to
love with all the affection of a fond brother and a husband united, he
felt that if the spirit of him, who slept unconscious of the scene,
were suffered to linger near, it would be to hallow it with approval.

"And now," said Clara at length, yet without attempting to disengage
herself,--"now that we are united, I would be alone with my brother. My
husband, leave me."

Deeply touched at the name of husband, Sir Everard could not refrain
from imprinting another kiss on the lips that uttered it. He then
gently disengaged himself from his lovely but suffering charge, whom he
deposited with her head resting on the bed; and making a significant
motion of his hand to the woman, who, as well as old Morrison, had been
spectators of the whole scene, stole gently from the apartment, under
what mingled emotions of joy and grief it would be difficult to


It was the eighth hour of morning, and both officers and men, quitting
their ill-relished meal, were to be seen issuing to the parade, where
the monotonous roll of the assemblee now summoned them. Presently the
garrison was formed in the order we have described in our first volume;
that is to say, presenting three equal sides of a square. The vacant
space fronted the guard-house, near one extremity of which was to be
seen a flight of steps communicating with the rampart, where the
flag-staff was erected. Several men were employed at this staff,
passing strong ropes through iron pulleys that were suspended from the
extreme top, while in the basement of the staff itself, to a height of
about twenty feet, were stuck at intervals strong wooden pegs, serving
as steps to the artillerymen for greater facility in clearing, when
foul, the lines to which the colours were attached. The latter had been
removed; and, from the substitution of a cord considerably stronger
than that which usually appeared there, it seemed as if some far
heavier weight was about to be appended to it. Gradually the men,
having completed their unusual preparations, quitted the rampart, and
the flagstaff, which was of tapering pine, was left totally unguarded.

The "Attention!" of Major Blackwater to the troops, who had been
hitherto standing in attitudes of expectancy that rendered the
injunction almost superfluous, announced the approach of the governor.
Soon afterwards that officer entered the area, wearing his
characteristic dignity of manner, yet exhibiting every evidence of one
who had suffered deeply. Preparation for a drum-head court-martial, as
in the first case of Halloway, had already been made within the square,
and the only actor wanting in the drama was he who was to be tried.

Once Colonel de Haldimar made an effort to command his appearance, but
the huskiness of his voice choked his utterance, and he was compelled
to pause. After the lapse of a few moments, he again ordered, but in a
voice that was remarked to falter,--

"Mr. Lawson, let the prisoner be brought forth."

The feeling of suspense that ensued between the delivery and execution
of this command was painful throughout the ranks. All were penetrated
with curiosity to behold a man who had several times appeared to them
under the most appalling circumstances, and against whom the strongest
feeling of indignation had been excited for his barbarous murder of
Charles de Haldimar. It was with mingled awe and anger they now awaited
his approach. At length the captive was seen advancing from the cell in
which he had been confined, his gigantic form towering far above those
of the guard of grenadiers by whom he was surrounded; and with a
haughtiness in his air, and insolence in his manner, that told he came
to confront his enemy with a spirit unsubdued by the fate that too
probably awaited him.

Many an eye was turned upon the governor at that moment. He was
evidently struggling for composure to meet the scene he felt it to be
impossible to avoid; and he turned pale and paler as his enemy drew

At length the prisoner stood nearly in the same spot where his
unfortunate nephew had lingered on a former occasion. He was unchained;
but his hands were firmly secured behind his back. He threw himself
into an attitude of carelessness, resting on one foot, and tapping the
earth with the other; riveting his eye, at the same time, with an
expression of the most daring insolence, on the governor, while his
swarthy cheek was moreover lighted up with a smile of the deepest scorn.

"You are Reginald Morton the outlaw, I believe," at length observed the
governor in an uncertain tone, that, however, acquired greater firmness
as he proceeded,--"one whose life has already been forfeited through
his treasonable practices in Europe, and who has, moreover, incurred
the penalty of an ignominious death, by acting in this country as a spy
of the enemies of England. What say you, Reginald Morton, that you
should not be convicted in the death that awaits the traitor?"

"Ha! ha! by Heaven, such cold, pompous insolence amuses me,"
vociferated Wacousta. "It reminds me of Ensign de Haldimar of nearly
five and twenty years back, who was then as cunning a dissembler as he
is now." Suddenly changing his ribald tone to one of scorn and
rage:--"You BELIEVE me, you say, to be Reginald Morton the outlaw. Well
do you know it. I am that Sir Reginald Morton, who became an outlaw,
not through his own crimes, but through your villainy. Ay, frown as you
may, I heed it not. You may award me death, but shall not chain my
tongue. To your whole regiment do I proclaim you for a false,
remorseless villain." Then turning his flashing eye along the
ranks:--"I was once an officer in this corps, and long before any of
you wore the accursed uniform. That man, that fiend, affected to be my
friend; and under the guise of friendship, stole into the heart I loved
better than my own life. Yes," fervently pursued the excited prisoner,
stamping violently with his foot upon the earth, "he robbed me of my
affianced wife; and for that I resented an outrage that should have
banished him to some lone region, where he might never again pollute
human nature with his presence--he caused me to be tried by a
court-martial, and dismissed the service. Then, indeed, I became the
outlaw he has described, but not until then. Now, Colonel de Haldimar,
that I have proclaimed your infamy, poor and inefficient as the triumph
be, do your worst--I ask no mercy. Yesterday I thought that years of
toilsome pursuit of the means of vengeance were about to be crowned
with success; but fate has turned the tables on me and I yield."

To all but the baronet and Captain Blessington this declaration was
productive of the utmost surprise. Every eye was turned upon the
colonel. He grew impatient under the scrutiny, and demanded if the
court, who meanwhile had been deliberating, satisfied of the guilt of
the prisoner, had come to a decision in regard to his punishment. An
affirmative answer was given, and Colonel de Haldimar proceeded.

"Reginald Morton, with the private misfortunes of your former life we
have nothing to do. It is the decision of this court, who are merely
met out of form, that you suffer immediate death by hanging, as a just
recompense for your double treason to your country. There," and he
pointed to the flag-staff, "will you be exhibited to the misguided
people whom your wicked artifices have stirred up into hostility
against us. When they behold your fate, they will take warning from
your example; and, finding we have heads and arms not to suffer offence
with impunity, be more readily brought to obedience."

"I understand your allusion," coolly rejoined Wacousta, glancing
earnestly at, and apparently measuring with his eye, the dimensions of
the conspicuous scaffold on which he was to suffer. "You had ever a
calculating head, De Haldimar, where any secret villainy, any thing to
promote your own selfish ends, was to be gained by it; but your
calculation seems now, methinks, at fault."

Colonel de Haldimar looked at him enquiringly.

"You have STILL a son left," pursued the prisoner with the same
recklessness of manner, and in a tone denoting allusion to him who was
no more, that caused an universal shudder throughout the ranks. "He is
in the hands of the Ottawa Indians, and I am the friend of their great
chief, inferior only in power among the tribe to himself. Think you
that he will see me hanged up like a dog, and fail to avenge my
disgraceful death?"

"Ha! presumptuous renegade, is this the deep game you have in view?
Hope you then to stipulate for the preservation of a life every way
forfeited to the offended justice of your country? Dare you to cherish
the belief, that, after the horrible threats so often denounced by you,
you will again be let loose upon a career of crime and blood?"

"None of your cant, de Haldimar, as I once observed to you before,"
coolly retorted Wacousta, with bitter sarcasm. "Consult your own heart,
and ask if its catalogue of crime be not far greater than my own: yet I
ask not my life. I would but have the manner of my fate altered, and
fain would die the death of the soldier I WAS before you rendered me
the wretch I AM. Methinks the boon is not so great, if the restoration
of your son be the price."

"Do you mean, then," eagerly returned the governor, "that if the mere
mode of your death be changed, my son shall be restored?"

"I do," was the calm reply.

"What pledge have we of the fact? What faith can we repose in the word
of a fiend, whose brutal vengeance has already sacrificed the gentlest
life that ever animated human clay?" Here the emotion of the governor
almost choked, his utterance, and considerable agitation and murmuring
were manifested in the ranks.

"Gentle, said you?" replied the prisoner, musingly; "then did he
resemble his mother, whom I loved, even as his brother resembles you
whom I have had so much reason to hate. Had I known the boy to be what
you describe, I might have felt some touch of pity even while I delayed
not to strike his death blow; but the false moonlight deceived me, and
the detested name of De Haldimar, pronounced by the lips of my nephew's
wife--that wife whom your cold-blooded severity had widowed and driven
mad--was in itself sufficient to ensure his doom."

"Inhuman ruffian!" exclaimed the governor, with increasing indignation;
"to the point. What pledge have you to offer that my son will be

"Nay, the pledge is easily given, and without much risk. You have only
to defer my death until your messenger return from his interview with
Ponteac. If Captain de Haldimar accompany him back, shoot me as I have
requested; if he come not, then it is but to hang me after all."

"Ha! I understand you; this is but a pretext to gain time, a device to
enable your subtle brain to plan some mode of escape."

"As you will, Colonel de Haldimar," calmly retorted Wacousta; and again
he sank into silence, with the air of one utterly indifferent to

"Do you mean," resumed the colonel, "that a request from yourself to
the Ottawa chief will obtain the liberation of my son?"

"Unless the Indian be false as yourself, I do."

"And of the lady who is with him?" continued the colonel, colouring
with anger.

"Of both."

"How is the message to be conveyed?"

"Ha, sir!" returned the prisoner, drawing himself up to his full
height, "now are you arrived at a point that is pertinent. My wampum
belt will be the passport, and the safeguard of him you send; then for
the communication. There are certain figures, as you are aware, that,
traced on bark, answer the same purpose among the Indians with the
European language of letters. Let my hands be cast loose," he pursued,
but in a tone in which agitation and excitement might be detected, "and
if bark be brought me, and a burnt stick or coal, I will give you not
only a sample of Indian ingenuity, but a specimen of my own progress in
Indian acquirements."

"What, free your hands, and thus afford you a chance of escape?"
observed the governor, doubtingly.

Wacousta bent his stedfast gaze on him for a few moments, as if he
questioned he had heard aright. Then bursting into a wild and scornful
laugh,--"By Heaven!" he exclaimed, "this is, indeed, a high compliment
you pay me at the expense of these fine fellows. What, Colonel de
Haldimar afraid to liberate an unarmed prisoner, hemmed in by a forest
of bayonets? This is good; gentlemen," and he bent himself in sarcastic
reverence to the astonished troops, "I beg to offer you my very best
congratulations on the high estimation in which you are held by your

"Peace, sirrah!" exclaimed the governor, enraged beyond measure at the
insolence of him who thus held him up to contempt before his men, "or,
by Heaven, I will have your tongue cut out!--Mr. Lawson, let what this
fellow requires be procured immediately." Then addressing Lieutenant
Boyce, who commanded the immediate guard over the prisoner,--"Let his
hands be liberated, sir, and enjoin your men to be watchful of the
movements of this supple traitor. His activity I know of old to be
great, and he seems to have doubled it since he assumed that garb."

The command was executed, and the prisoner stood, once more, free and
unfettered in every muscular limb. A deep and unbroken silence ensued;
and the return of the adjutant was momentarily expected. Suddenly a
loud scream was heard, and the slight figure of a female, clad in
white, came rushing from the piazza in which the apartment of the
deceased De Haldimar was situated. It was Clara. The guard of Wacousta
formed the fourth front of the square; but they were drawn up somewhat
in the distance, so as to leave an open space of several feet at the
angles. Through one of these the excited girl now passed into the area,
with a wildness in her air and appearance that riveted every eye in
painful interest upon her. She paused not until she had gained the side
of the captive, at whose feet she now sank in an attitude expressive of
the most profound despair.

"Tiger!--monster!" she raved, "restore my brother!--give me back the
gentle life you have taken, or destroy my own! See, I am a weak
defenceless girl: can you not strike?--you who have no pity for the
innocent. But come," she pursued, mournfully, regaining her feet and
grasping his iron hand,--"come and see the sweet calm face of him you
have slain:--come with me, and behold the image of Clara Beverley; and,
if you ever loved her as you say you did, let your soul be touched with
remorse for your crime."

The excitement and confusion produced by this unexpected interruption
was great. Murmurs of compassion for the unhappy Clara, and of
indignation against the prisoner, were no longer sought to be repressed
by the men; while the officers, quitting their places in the ranks,
grouped themselves indiscriminately in the foreground. One, more
impatient than his companions, sprang forward, and forcibly drew away
the delicate, hand that still grasped that of the captive. It was Sir
Everard Valletort.

"Clara, my beloved wife!" he exclaimed, to the astonishment of all who
heard him, "pollute not your lips by further communion with such a
wretch; his heart is as inaccessible to pity as the rugged rocks on
which his spring-life was passed. For Heaven's sake,--for my
sake,--linger not within his reach. There is death in his very

"Your wife, sir!" haughtily observed the governor, with irrepressible
astonishment and indignation in his voice; "what mean you?--Gentlemen,
resume your places in the ranks.--Clara--Miss de Haldimar, I command
you to retire instantly to your apartment.--We will discourse of this
later, Sir Everard Valletort. I trust you have not dared to offer an
indignity to my child."

While he was yet turned to that officer, who had taken his post, as
commanded, in the inner angle of the square, and with a countenance
that denoted the conflicting emotions of his soul, he was suddenly
startled by the confused shout and rushing forward of the whole body,
both of officers and men. Before he had time to turn, a loud and
well-remembered yell burst upon his ear. The next moment, to his
infinite surprise and horror, he beheld the bold warrior rapidly
ascending the very staff that had been destined for his scaffold, and
with Clara in his arms.

Great was the confusion that ensued. To rush forward and surround the
flag-staff, was the immediate action of the troops. Many of the men
raised their muskets, and in the excitement of the moment, would have
fired, had they not been restrained by their officers, who pointed out
the certain destruction it would entail on the unfortunate Clara. With
the rapidity of thought, Wacousta had snatched up his victim, while the
attention of the troops was directed to the singular conversation
passing between the governor and Sir Everard Valletort, and darting
through one of the open angles already alluded to, had gained the
rampart before they had recovered from the stupor produced by his
daring action. Stepping lightly upon the pegs, he had rapidly ascended
to the utmost height of these, before any one thought of following him;
and then grasping in his teeth the cord which was to have served for
his execution, and holding Clara firmly against his chest, while he
embraced the smooth staff with knees and feet closely compressed around
it, accomplished the difficult ascent with an ease that astonished all
who beheld him. Gradually, as he approached the top, the tapering pine
waved to and fro; and at each moment it was expected, that, yielding to
their united weight, it would snap asunder, and precipitate both Clara
and himself, either upon the rampart, or into the ditch beyond.

More than one officer now attempted to follow the fugitive in his
adventurous course; but even Lieutenant Johnstone, the most active and
experienced in climbing of the party, was unable to rise more than a
few yards above the pegs that afforded a footing, add the enterprise
was abandoned as an impossibility. At length Wacousta was seen to gain
the extreme summit. For a moment he turned his gaze anxiously beyond
the town, in the direction of the bridge; and, after pealing forth one
of his terrific yells, exclaimed, exultingly, as he turned his eye upon
his enemy:--

"Well, colonel, what think you of this sample of Indian ingenuity? Did
I not tell you," he continued, in mockery, "that, if my hands were but
free, I would give you a specimen of my progress in Indian

"If you would avoid a death even more terrible than that of hanging,"
shouted the governor, in a voice of mingled rage and terror, "restore
my daughter."

"Ha! ha! ha!--excellent!" vociferated the savage. "You threaten
largely, my good governor; but your threats are harmless as those of a
weak besieging army before an impregnable fortress. It is for the
strongest, however, to propose his terms.--If I restore this girl to
life, will you pledge yourself to mine?"

"Never!" thundered Colonel de Haldimar, with unusual energy.--"Men,
procure axes; cut the flag-staff down, since this is the only means
left of securing yon insolent traitor! Quick to your work: and mark,
who first seizes him shall have promotion on the spot."

Axes were instantly procured, and two of the men now lent themselves
vigorously to the task. Wacousta seemed to watch these preparations
with evident anxiety; and to all it appeared as if his courage had been
paralysed by this unexpected action. No sooner, however, had the axemen
reached the heart of the staff, than, holding Clara forth over the edge
of the rampart, he shouted,--

"One stroke more, and she perishes!"

Instantaneously the work was discontinued. A silence of a few moments
ensued. Every eye was turned upward,--every heart beat with terror to
see the delicate girl, held by a single arm, and apparently about to be
precipitated from that dizzying height. Again Wacousta shouted,--

"Life for life, De Haldimar! If I yield her shall I live?"

"No terms shall be dictated to me by a rebel, in the heart of my own
fort," returned the governor. "Restore my child, and we will then
consider what mercy may be extended to you."

"Well do I know what mercy dwells in such a heart as yours," gloomily
remarked the prisoner; "but I come."

"Surround the staff, men," ordered the governor, in a low tone. "The
instant he descends, secure him: lash him in every limb, nor suffer
even his insolent tongue to be longer at liberty."

"Boyce, for God's sake open the gate, and place men in readiness to
lower the drawbridge," implored Sir Everard of the officer of the
guard, and in a tone of deep emotion that was not meant to be overheard
by the governor. "I fear the boldness of this vengeful man may lead him
to some desperate means of escape."

While the officer whom he addressed issued a command, the
responsibility of which he fancied he might, under the peculiar
circumstances of the moment, take upon himself, Wacousta began his
descent, not as before, by adhering to the staff, but by the rope which
he held in his left hand, while he still supported the apparently
senseless Clara against his right chest with the other.

"Now, Colonel de Haldimar, I hope your heart is at rest," he shouted,
as he rapidly glided by the cord; "enjoy your triumph as best may suit
your pleasure."

Every eye followed his movement with interest; every heart beat lighter
at the certainty of Clara being again restored, and without other
injury than the terror she must have experienced in such a scene. Each
congratulated himself on the favourable termination of the terrible
adventure, yet were all ready to spring upon and secure the desperate
author of the wrong. Wacousta had now reached the centre of the
flag-staff. Pausing for a moment, he grappled it with his strong and
nervous feet, on which he apparently rested, to give a momentary relief
to the muscles of his left arm. He then abruptly abandoned his hold,
swinging himself out a few yards from the staff, and returning again,
dashed his feet against it with a force that caused the weakened mass
to vibrate to its very foundation. Impelled by his weight, and the
violence of his action, the creaking pine gave way; its lofty top
gradually bending over the exterior rampart until it finally snapped
asunder, and fell with a loud crash across the ditch.

"Open the gate, down with the drawbridge!" exclaimed the excited

"Down with the drawbridge," repeated Sir Everard to the men already
stationed there ready to let loose at the first order. The heavy chains
rattled sullenly through the rusty pulleys, and to each the bridge
seemed an hour descending. Before it had reached its level, it was
covered with the weight of many armed men rushing confusedly to the
front; and the foremost of these leaped to the earth before it had sunk
into its customary bed. Sir Everard Valletort and Lieutenant Johnstone
were in the front, both armed with their rifles, which had been brought
them before Wacousta commenced his descent. Without order or
combination, Erskine, Blessington, and nearly half of their respective
companies, followed as they could; and dispersing as they advanced,
sought only which could outstep his fellows in the pursuit.

Meanwhile the fugitive, assisted in his fall by the gradual rending
asunder of the staff, had obeyed the impulsion first given to his
active form, until, suddenly checking himself by the rope, he dropped
with his feet downward into the centre of the ditch. For a moment he
disappeared, then came again uninjured to the surface; and in the face
of more than fifty men, who, lining the rampart with their muskets
levelled to take him at advantage the instant he should reappear,
seemed to laugh their efforts to scorn. Holding Clara before him as a
shield, through which the bullets of his enemies must pass before they
could attain him, he impelled his gigantic form with a backward
movement towards the opposite bank, which he rapidly ascended; and,
still fronting his enemies, commenced his flight in that manner with a
speed which (considering the additional weight of the drenched garments
of both) was inconceivable. The course taken by him was not through the
town, but circuitously across the common until he arrived on that
immediate line whence, as we have before stated, the bridge was
distinctly visible from the rampart; on which, nearly the whole of the
remaining troops, in defiance of the presence of their austere chief,
were now eagerly assembled, watching, with unspeakable interest, the
progress of the chase.

Desperate as were the exertions of Wacousta, who evidently continued
this mode of flight from a conviction that the instant his person was
left exposed the fire-arms of his pursuers would be brought to bear
upon him, the two officers in front, animated by the most extraordinary
exertions, were rapidly gaining upon him. Already was one within fifty
yards of him, when a loud yell was heard from the bridge. This was
fiercely answered by the fleeing man, and in a manner that implied his
glad sense of coming rescue. In the wild exultation of the moment, he
raised Clara high above his head, to show her in triumph to the
governor, whose person his keen eye could easily distinguish among
those crowded upon the rampart. In the gratified vengeance of that
hour, he seemed utterly to overlook the actions of those who were so
near him. During this brief scene, Sir Everard had dropped upon one
knee, and supporting his elbow on the other, aimed his rifle at the
heart of the ravisher of his wife. An exulting shout burst from the
pursuing troops. Wacousta bounded a few feet in air, and placing his
hand to his side, uttered another yell, more appalling than any that
had hitherto escaped him. His flight was now uncertain and wavering. He
staggered as one who had received a mortal wound; and discontinuing his
unequal mode of retreat, turned his back upon his pursuers, and threw
all his remaining energies into a final effort at escape.

Inspirited by the success of his shot, and expecting momentarily to see
him fall weakened with the loss of blood, the excited Valletort
redoubled his exertions. To his infinite joy, he found that the efforts
of the fugitive became feebler at each moment Johnstone was about
twenty paces behind him, and the pursuing party at about the same
distance from Johnstone. The baronet had now reached his enemy, and
already was the butt of his rifle raised with both hands with murderous
intent, when suddenly Wacousta, every feature distorted with rage and
pain, turned like a wounded lion at bay, and eluding the blow,
deposited the unconscious form of his victim upon the sward. Springing
upon his infinitely weaker pursuer, he grappled him furiously by the
throat, exclaiming through his clenched teeth:--

"Nay then, since you will provoke your fate--be it so. Die like a dog,
and be d--d, for having balked me--of my just revenge!"

As he spoke, he hurled the gasping officer to the earth with a violence
that betrayed the dreadful excitement of his soul, and again hastened
to assure himself of his prize.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Johnstone had come up, and, seeing his companion
struggling as he presumed, with advantage, with his severely wounded
enemy, made it his first care to secure the unhappy girl; for whose
recovery the pursuit had been principally instituted. Quitting his
rifle, he now essayed to raise her in his arms. She was without life or
consciousness, and the impression on his mind was that she was dead.

While in the act of raising her, the terrible Wacousta stood at his
side, his vast chest heaving forth a laugh of mingled rage and
contempt. Before the officer could extricate, with a view of defending
himself, his arms were pinioned as though in a vice; and ere he could
recover from his surprise, he felt himself lifted up and thrown to a
considerable distance. When he opened his eyes a moment afterwards, he
was lying amid the moving feet of his own men.

From the instant of the closing of the unfortunate Valletort with his
enemy, the Indians, hastening to the assistance of their chief, had
come up, and a desultory fire had already commenced, diverting, in a
great degree, the attention of the troops from the pursued. Emboldened
by this new aspect of things Wacousta now deliberately grasped the
rifle that had been abandoned by Johnstone; and raising it to his
shoulder, fired among the group collected on the ramparts. For a moment
he watched the result of his shot, and then, pealing forth another
fierce yell, he hurled the now useless weapon into the very heart of
his pursuers; and again raising Clara in his arms, once more commenced
his retreat, which, under cover of the fire of his party, was easily

"Who has fallen?" demanded the governor of his adjutant, perceiving
that some one had been hit at his side, yet without taking his eyes off
his terrible enemy.

"Mr. Delme, sir," was the reply. "He has been shot through the heart,
and his men are bearing him from the rampart."

"This must not be," resumed the governor with energy. "Private feelings
must no longer be studied at the expense of the public good. That
pursuit is hopeless; and already too many of my officers have fallen.
Desire the retreat to be sounded, Mr. Lawson. Captain Wentworth, let
one or two covering guns be brought to bear upon the savages. They are
gradually increasing hi numbers; and if we delay, the party will be
wholly cut off."

In issuing these orders, Colonel de Haldimar evinced a composedness
that astonished all who heard him. But although his voice was calm,
despair was upon his brow. Still he continued to gaze fixedly on the
retreating form of his enemy, until he finally disappeared behind the
orchard of the Canadian of the Fleur de lis.

Obeying the summons from the fort, the troops without now commenced
their retreat, bearing off the bodies of their fallen officers and
several of their comrades who had fallen by the Indian fire. There was
a show of harassing them on their return; but they were too near the
fort to apprehend much danger. Two or three well-directed discharges of
artillery effectually checked the onward progress of the savages; and,
in the course of a minute, they had again wholly disappeared.

In gloomy silence, and with anger and disappointment in their hearts,
the detachment now re-entered the fort. Johnstone was only severely
bruised; Sir Everard Valletort not dead. Both were conveyed to the same
room, where they were instantly attended by the surgeon, who pronounced
the situation of the latter hopeless.

Major Blackwater, Captains Blessington and Erskine, Lieutenants Leslie
and Boyce, and Ensigns Fortescue and Summers, were now the only
regimental officers that remained of thirteen originally comprising the
strength of the garrison. The whole of these stood grouped around their
colonel, who seemed transfixed to the spot he had first occupied on the
rampart, with his arms folded, and his gaze bent in the direction in
which he had lost sight of Wacousta and his child.

Hitherto the morning had been cold and cheerless, and objects in the
far distance were but indistinctly seen through a humid atmosphere. At
about half an hour before mid-day the air became more rarified, and,
the murky clouds gradually disappearing, left the blue autumnal sky
without spot or blemish. Presently, as the bells of the fort struck
twelve, a yell as of a legion of devils rent the air; and, riveting
their gaze in that direction, all beheld the bridge, hitherto deserted,
suddenly covered with a multitude of savages, among whom were several
individuals attired in the European garb, and evidently prisoners. Each
officer had a telescope raised to his eye, and each prepared himself,
shudderingly, for some horrid consummation. Presently the bridge was
cleared of all but a double line of what appeared to be women, armed
with war-clubs and tomahawks. Along the line were now seen to pass, in
slow succession, the prisoners that had previously been observed. At
each step they took (and it was evident they had been compelled to run
the gauntlet), a blow was inflicted by some one or other of the line,
until the wretched victims were successively despatched. A loud yell
from the warriors, who, although hidden from view by the intervening
orchards, were evidently merely spectators in the bloody drama,
announced each death. These yells were repeated, at intervals, to about
the number of thirty, when, suddenly, the bridge was again deserted as

After the lapse of a minute, the tall figure of a warrior was seen to
advance, holding a female in his arms. No one could mistake, even at
that distance, the gigantic proportions of Wacousta,--as he stood in
the extreme centre of the bridge, in imposing relief against the flood
that glittered like a sea of glass beyond. From his chest there now
burst a single yell; but, although audible, it was fainter than any
remembered ever to have been heard from him by the garrison. He then
advanced to the extreme edge of the bridge; and, raising the form of
the female far above his head with his left hand, seemed to wave her in
vengeful triumph. A second warrior was seen upon the bridge, and
stealing cautiously to the same point. The right hand of the first
warrior was now raised and brandished in air; in the next instant it
descended upon the breast of the female, who fell from his arms into
the ravine beneath. Yells of triumph from the Indians, and shouts of
execration from the soldiers, mingled faintly together. At that moment
the arm of the second warrior was raised, and a blade was seen to
glitter in the sunshine. His arm descended, and Wacousta was observed
to stagger forward and fall heavily into the abyss into which his
victim had the instant before been precipitated. Another loud yell, but
of disappointment and anger, was heard drowning that of exultation
pealed by the triumphant warrior, who, darting to the open extremity of
the bridge, directed his flight along the margin of the river, where a
light canoe was ready to receive him. Into this he sprang, and, seizing
the paddle, sent the waters foaming from its sides; and, pursuing his
way across the river, had nearly gained the shores of Canada before a
bark was to be seen following in pursuit.

How felt--how acted Colonel de Haldimar throughout this brief but
terrible scene? He uttered not a word. With his arms still folded
across his breast, he gazed upon the murder of his child; but he heaved
not a groan, he shed not a tear. A momentary triumph seemed to,
irradiate his pallid features, when he saw the blow struck that
annihilated his enemy; but it was again instantly shaded by an
expression of the most profound despair.

"It is done, gentlemen," he at length remarked. "The tragedy is closed,
the curse of Ellen Halloway is fulfilled, and I
am--childless!--Blackwater," he pursued, endeavouring to stifle the
emotion produced by the last reflection, "pay every attention to the
security of the garrison, see that the drawbridge is again properly
chained up, and direct that the duties of the troops be prosecuted in
every way as heretofore."

Leaving his officers to wonder at and pity that apathy of mind that
could mingle the mere forms of duty with the most heart-rending
associations, Colonel de Haldimar now quitted the rampart; and, with a
head that was remarked for the first time to droop over his chest,
paced his way musingly to his apartments.


Night had long since drawn her circling mantle over the western
hemisphere; and deeper, far deeper than the gloom of that night was the
despair which filled every bosom of the devoted garrison, whose
fortunes it has fallen to our lot to record. A silence, profound as
that of death, pervaded the ramparts and exterior defences of the
fortress, interrupted only, at long intervals, by the customary "All's
well!" of the several sentinels; which, after the awful events of the
day, seemed to many who now heard it as if uttered in mockery of their
hopelessness of sorrow. The lights within the barracks of the men had
been long since extinguished; and, consigned to a mere repose of limb,
in which the eye and heart shared not, the inferior soldiery pressed
their rude couches with spirits worn out by a succession of painful
excitements, and frames debilitated, by much abstinence and watching.
It was an hour at which sleep was wont to afford them the blessing of a
temporary forgetfulness of endurances that weighed the more heavily as
they were believed to be endless and without fruit; but sleep had now
apparently been banished from all; for the low and confused murmur that
met the ear from the several block-houses was continuous and general,
betraying at times, and in a louder key, words that bore reference to
the tragic occurrences of the day.

The only lights visible in the fort proceeded from the guard-house and
a room adjoining that of the ill-fated Charles de Haldimar. Within the
latter were collected, with the exception of the governor, and grouped
around a bed on which lay one of their companions in a nearly expiring
state, the officers of the garrison, reduced nearly one third in number
since we first offered them to the notice of our readers. The dying man
was Sir Everard Valletort, who, supported by pillows, was concluding a
narrative that had chained the earnest attention of his auditory, even
amid the deep and heartfelt sympathy perceptible in each for the
forlorn and hopeless condition of the narrator. At the side of the
unhappy baronet, and enveloped in a dressing gown, as if recently out
of bed, sat, reclining in a rude elbow chair, one whose pallid
countenance denoted, that, although far less seriously injured, he,
too, had suffered severely:--it was Lieutenant Johnstone.

The narrative was at length closed; and the officer, exhausted by the
effort he had made in his anxiety to communicate every particular to
his attentive and surprised companions, had sunk back upon his pillow,
when, suddenly, the loud and unusual "Who comes there?" of the sentinel
stationed on the rampart above the gateway, arrested every ear. A
moment of pause succeeded, when again was heard the "Stand, friend!"
evidently given in reply to the familiar answer to the original
challenge. Then were audible rapid movements in the guard-house, as of
men aroused from temporary slumber, and hastening to the point whence
the voice proceeded.

Silently yet hurriedly the officers now quitted the bedside of the
dying man, leaving only the surgeon and the invalid Johnstone behind
them; and, flying to the rampart, stood in the next minute confounded
with the guard, who were already grouped round the challenging
sentinel, bending their gaze eagerly in the direction of the road.

"What now, man?--whom have you challenged?" asked Major Blackwater.

"It is I--De Haldimar," hoarsely exclaimed one of four dark figures
that, hitherto, unnoticed by the officers, stood immediately beyond the
ditch, with a burden deposited at their feet. "Quick, Blackwater, let
us in for God's sake! Each succeeding minute may bring a scouting party
on our track. Lower the drawbridge!"

"Impossible!" exclaimed the major: "after all that has passed, it is
more than my commission is worth to lower the bridge without
permission. Mr. Lawson, quick to the governor, and report that Captain
de Haldimar is here: with whom shall he say?" again addressing the
impatient and almost indignant officer.

"With Miss de Haldimar, Francois the Canadian, and one to whom we all
owe our lives," hurriedly returned the officer; "and you may add," he
continued gloomily, "the corpse of my sister. But while we stand in
parley here, we are lost: Lawson, fly to my father, and tell him we
wait for entrance."

With nearly the speed enjoined the adjutant departed. Scarcely a minute
elapsed when he again stood upon the rampart, and advancing closely to
the major, whispered a few words in his ear.

"Good God! can it be possible? When? How came this? but we will enquire
later. Open the gate; down with the bridge, Leslie," addressing the
officer of the guard.

The command was instantly obeyed. The officers flew to receive the
fugitives; and as the latter crossed the drawbridge, the light of a
lantern, that had been brought from the guard-room, flashed full upon
the harassed countenances of Captain and Miss de Haldimar, Francois the
Canadian, and the devoted Oucanasta.

Silent and melancholy was the greeting that took place between the
parties: the voice spoke not; the hand alone was eloquent; but it was
in the eloquence of sorrow only that it indulged. Pleasure, even in
this almost despaired of re-union, could not be expressed; and even the
eye shrank from mutual encounter, as if its very glance at such a
moment were sacrilege. Recalled to a sense of her situation by the
preparation of the men to raise the bridge, the Indian woman was the
first to break the silence.

"The Saganaw is safe within his fort, and the girl of the pale faces
will lay her head upon his bosom," she remarked solemnly. "Oucanasta
will go to her solitary wigwam among the red skins."

The heart of Madeline de Haldimar was oppressed by the weight of many
griefs; yet she could not see the generous preserver of her life, and
the rescuer of the body of her ill-fated cousin, depart without
emotion. Drawing a ring, of some value and great beauty, from her
finger, which she had more than once observed the Indian to admire, she
placed it on her hand; and then, throwing herself on the bosom of the
faithful creature, embraced her with deep manifestations of affection,
but without uttering a word.

Oucanasta was sensibly gratified: she raised her large eyes to heaven
as if in thankfulness; and by the light of the lantern, which fell upon
her dark but expressive countenance, tears were to be seen starting
unbidden from their source.

Released from the embrace of her, whose life she had twice preserved at
imminent peril to her own, the Indian again prepared to depart; but
there was another, who, like Madeline, although stricken by many
sorrows, could not forego the testimony of his heart's gratitude.
Captain de Haldimar, who, during this short scene, had despatched a
messenger to his room for the purpose, now advanced to the poor girl,
bearing a short but elegantly mounted dagger, which he begged her to
deliver as a token of his friendship to the young chief her brother. He
then dropped on one knee at her feet, and raising her hand, pressed it
fervently against his heart; an action which, even to the untutored
mind of the Indian, bore evidence only of the feeling that prompted it,
A heavy sigh escaped her labouring chest; and as the officer now rose
and quitted her hand, she turned slowly and with dignity from him, and
crossing the drawbridge, was in a few minutes lost in the surrounding

Our readers have, doubtless, anticipated the communication made to
Major Blackwater by the Adjutant Lawson. Bowed down to the dust by the
accomplishment of the curse of Ellen Halloway, the inflexibility of
Colonel de Haldimar's pride was not proof against the utter
annihilation wrought to his hopes as a father by the unrelenting hatred
of the enemy his early falsehood and treachery had raised up to him.
When the adjutant entered his apartment, the stony coldness of his
cheek attested he had been dead some hours.

We pass over the few days of bitter trial that succeeded to the
restoration of Captain de Haldimar and his bride to their friends;
days, during which were consigned to the same grave the bodies of the
governor, his lamented children, and the scarcely less regretted Sir
Everard Valletort. The funeral service was attempted by Captain
Blessington; but the strong affection of that excellent officer, for
three of the defunct parties at least, was not armed against the trial.
He had undertaken a task far beyond his strength; and scarcely had
commenced, ere he was compelled to relinquish the performance of the
ritual to the adjutant. A large grave had been dug close under the
rampart, and near the fatal flag-staff, to receive the bodies of their
deceased friends; and, as they were lowered successively into their
last earthly resting place, tears fell unrestrainedly over the bronzed
cheeks of the oldest soldiers, while many a female sob blended with and
gave touching solemnity to the scene.

On the morning of the third day from this quadruple interment, notice
was given by one of the sentinels that an Indian was approaching the
fort, making signs as if in demand for a parley. The officers, headed
by Major Blackwater, now become the commandant of the place,
immediately ascended the rampart, when the stranger was at once
recognised by Captain de Haldimar for the young Ottawa, the preserver
of his life, and the avenger of the deaths of those they mourned, in
whose girdle was thrust, in seeming pride, the richly mounted dagger
that officer had caused to be conveyed to him through his no less
generous sister. A long conference ensued, in the language of the
Ottawas, between the parties just named, the purport of which was of
high moment to the garrison, now nearly reduced to the last extremity.
The young chief had come to apprise them, that, won by the noble
conduct of the English, on a late occasion, when his warriors were
wholly in their power, Ponteac had expressed a generous determination
to conclude a peace with the garrison, and henceforth to consider them
as his friends. This he had publicly declared in a large council of the
chiefs, held the preceding night; and the motive of the Ottawa's coming
was, to assure the English, that, on this occasion, their great leader
was perfectly sincere in a resolution, at which he had the more readily
arrived, now that his terrible coadjutor and vindictive adviser was no
more. He prepared them for the coming of Ponteac and the principal
chiefs of the league to demand a council on the morrow; and, with this
final communication, again withdrew.

The Ottawa was right Within a week from that period the English were to
be seen once more issuing from their fort; and, although many months
elapsed before the wounds of their suffering hearts were healed, still
were they grateful to Providence for their final preservation from a
doom that had fallen, without exception, on every fortress on the line
of frontier in which they lay.

Time rolled on; and, in the course of years, Oucanasta might be seen
associating with and bearing curious presents, the fruits of Indian
ingenuity, to the daughters of De Haldimar, now become the colonel of
the ---- regiment; while her brother, the chief, instructed his sons in
the athletic and active exercises peculiar to his race. As for poor
Ellen Halloway, search had been made for her, but she never was heard
of afterwards.


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