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DBRARY 

UmVEf^SITY OF CALIFORNU 

RIVERSIDE 




THIS BOOK. 



BELONGS TO 



A. 17 titjju 



U%L.( 



FORT AMITY 



FORT AMITY 

BY A. T. QUILLER-COUCH 



LONDON 
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET 

1904 



/-^y 



TO HENRY NEWBOLT 

My DEAR Newbolt, 

Two schoolfellows, who had sat together in the 
Sixth at Clifton, met at Paddington some twenty years 
later and travelled down to enter their two sons at 
one school. On their way, while the boys shyly became 
acquainted, the fathers discussed the project of this 
story ; a small matter in comparison with the real 
business of that day — but that it happened so gives 
me the opportunity of dedicating "Fort Amity" to 
you, its editor in The Monthly Review, as a reminder 
to outlast the short life granted in these days to novels. 

Yet if either of our sons shall turn its pages some 
years hence, though but to remind himself of his first 
journey to school, I hope he will not lay it down too 
contemptuously. The tale has, for its own purposes, 
so seriously confused the geography of Fort Amiti6, 
that he may search the map and end by doubting if any 
such fortress ever existed and stood a siege : but I 
trust it will leave him in no doubt of what his elders 
understood by honour and friendship. 

Of these two themes, at any rate, I have composed 
it, and dedicate it to a poet who has sung nobly of 
both. "Like to the generations of leaves are those 
of men " — but while we last, let these deciduous pages 
commemorate the day when we two went back to 
school four strong. May they also contain nothing 
unworthy to survive us in our two fellow-travellers ! 



A. T. QUILLER-COUCH 



The Haven, 

April 2oih, 1904 



CONTENTS 



I. Malbrouck s'en va t'en Guerre 

II. A Bivouac in the Forest 

III. TlCONDEROGA 

IV. The Voyageurs 
V. Contains the Apologue of Manabozho's 

Toe 

VI. Bateese 

VII. The Watcher in the Pass 

VIII. The Farther Slope . 

IX. Menehwehna settles Accounts 

X, Boisveyrac 

XI. Father Launoy has his Doubts 

XII. The White Tunic 

XIII. Fort Amiti^ 

XIV. Again the White Tunic 
XV. The Second Despatch 

XVI. The Dismissal 

XVII. Frontenac Shore 

XVIII. Netawis 

XIX. The Lodges in the Snow 

XX. The Reveill^ 



19 
28 

39 

51 
70 

79 
90 

99 
109 
118 
129 
139 
155 
168 
182 
194 
204 
222 
237 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER 

XXI. Fort Amitie Learns its Fate 

XXII. Dominique . 

XXIII. The Flagstaff Tower 

XXIV. The Fort Surrenders 
XXV. The Rapids . 

XXVI. Dick's Judgment 
XXVII. Pr^s-de-Ville 

Epilogue— I.— Hudson River 

II.— The Phantom Guard 



PAGE 

262 
277 
295 

335 
349 
354 



FORT AMITY 

CHAPTER I 

MALBROUCK S'EN VA T'EN GUERRE 

''CO adieu, Jack, until ive meet in Quebec ! 
You have the start of us, repoi't says, 
and this may even find you di'inking his 
Majesty's health in Fort Carillon. Why 
not ? Yo2i caj'jy Howe, and who carries 
Howe carries the eagles on his standards ; or 
so you annoimce in yoztr last. Well, but 
have we, on our part, no vexillum ? Brother 
Romulus presents his compliments to Brother 
Remus, and begs leave to anstver ' Wolfe ! ' 
'Tis scai'ce forty -eight hours since Wry- 
necked Dick bro7ight his ships into harbour 
with the Brigadier on board, and already I 
have seen him and — what is more — fallen in 
love. ' What like is he ? ' says you. 'Just 
a sandy-haired slip of a tnan, * says /, ' with 
a cock nose ' : but I love him, Jack, for he 
knows his business. We've a professional at 



2 FORT AMITY 

last. No more Pall Mall promenaders — no 
mo7'e Braddocks, Lottdons, Webbs ! We live 
hi the consulship of Pitt, my lad — deprome 
Caecubum — we'll tap a cask to it in Quebec. 
A nd if A bercromby 's your Ccrsar ' ' 

Here a bugle sounded, and Ensign John 
a Cleeve of the 46th Regiment of Foot 
(Murray's) crushed his friend's letter into his 
pocket and sprang off the wood-pile where 
he had seated himself with the regimental 
colours across his knees. He unfolded them 
from their staff, assured himself that they 
hung becomingly — gilt tassels and yellow 
silken folds — and stepped down to the lake- 
side where the batteaux waited. 

The scene is known to-day for one of the 
fairest in the world. Populous cities lie near 
it and pour their holiday-makers upon it 
through the summer season. Trains whistle 
along the shore under its forests ; pleasure- 
steamers, with music on their decks, shoot 
across bays churned of old by the paddles 
of war-canoes ; from wildernesses where 
Indians lurked in ambush smile neat hotels, 
white-walled, with green shutters and deep 
verandahs ; and lovers, wandering among 
the hemlocks, happen on a clearing with a 
few turfed mounds, and seat themselves on 
these last ruins of an ancient fort, nor care 



MALBROUCK S'EN VA T'EN GUERRE 3 

to remember even its name. Behind them 
— behind the Adirondacks and the Green 
Mountains — and pushed but a little way back 
in these hundred-and-fifty years, lies the 
primeval forest, trodden no longer now by 
the wasting redman, but untamed yet, almost 
unhandselled. And still, as the holiday- 
makers leave it, winter closes down on the 
lakeside and wraps it in silence, broken by 
the loon's cry or the crash of a snow-laden 
tree deep in the forest — the same sounds, the 
same aching silence, endured by French and 
English garrisons watching each other and 
the winter through in Fort Carillon or Fort 
William Henry. 

''The world's great age begins anew." . . . 
It begins anew, and hourly, wherever hearts 
are high and youth sets out with bright eyes 
to meet his fate. It began anew for Ensign 
John a Cleeve on this morning of July 5, 
1758 ; it was sounded up by bugles, shatter- 
ing the forest silence; it breathed in the wind 
of the boat's speed shaking the silken flag 
above him. His was one of twelve hundred 
boats spreading like brilliantwater-fowl across 
the lake which stretched for thirty miles 
ahead, gay with British uniforms, scarlet and 
gold, with Highland tartans, with the blue 
jackets of the Provincials ; flash of oars, in- 
numerable glints of steel, of epaulettes, of 



4 FORT AMITY 

belt, cross belt and badge ; gilt knops and 
tassels and sheen of flags. Yonder went 
Blakeney's 27th Regiment, and yonder the 
Highlanders of the Black Watch; Abercom- 
by's 44th, Howe's 55th with their idolised 
young commander, the 60th or Royal Ameri- 
cans in two battalions ; Gage's Light Infan- 
try, Bradstreet's axemen and batteau-men, 
Starke's rangers ; a few friendly Indians— 
but the great Johnson was hurrying up with 
more, maybe with five hundred ; in all fifteen 
thousand men and over. Never had America 
seen such an armament ; and it went to take 
a fort from three thousand Frenchmen. 

No need to cover so triumphant an advance 
in silence ! Why should not the regimental 
bands strike up? For what else had we 
dragged them up the Hudson from Albany 
and across the fourteen-mile portage to the 
lake ? Weary work with a big drum in so 
much brushwood ! And play they did, as 
the flotilla pushed forth and spread and left 
the stockades far behind ; stockades planted 
on the scene of last year's massacre. Though 
for weeks before our arrival Bradstreet and 
his men had been clearing and building, 
sights remained to nerve our arms and set 
our blood boiling to the cry '* Remember 
Fort William Henry ! " Its shores fade, and 
somewhere at the foot of the lake three thou- 



MALBROUCK S'EN VA T'EN GUERRE 5 

sand Frenchmen are waiting for us (if indeed 
they dare to wait). Let the bands play 
'' Britons strike home ! " 

Play they did : drums tunding and bag- 
pipes skirling as though Fort Carillon (or 
Ticonderoga, as the Indians called it) would 
succumb like another Jericho to their clam- 
our. The Green Mountains tossed its echoes 
to the Adirondacks, and the Adirondacks 
flung it back ; and under it, down the blue 
waterway toward the Narrows, went Ensign 
John a Cleeve, canopied by the golden flag 
of the 46th. 

The lake smiled at all his expectations and 
surpassed them. He had imagined it a 
sepulchral sheet of water, sunk between 
cavernous woods. And lo ! it lay high in 
the light of day, broad-rimmed, with the 
forests diminishing as they shelved down to 
its waters. The mountains rimmed it, ame- 
thystine, remote, delicate as carving, as 
vapours almost transparent ; and within the 
rim it twinkled like a great cup of cham- 
pagne held high in a god's hand — so high 
that John a Cleeve, who had been climbing 
ever since his regiment left Albany, seemed 
lifted with all these flashing boats and uni- 
forms upon a platform where men were 
heroes, and all great deeds possible, and the 
mere air laughed in the veins like wine. 



6 FORT AMITY 

Two heavy flat-boats ploughed alongside 
of his ; deep in the bows and yawing their 
sterns ludicrously. They carried a gun a- 
piece, and the artillerymen had laded them 
too far forward. To the 46th they were a 
sufficiently good joke to last for miles. 
" Look at them up-tailed ducks a-searching 
for worms ! Guns ? Who wants guns on 
this trip ? Take 'em home before they sink 
and the General loses his temper." The 
crews grinned back and sweated and tugged, 
at every third drive drenching the bowmen 
with spray, although not a breath of wind 
rippled the lake's surface. 

The boat ahead of John's carried Elliott 
the Senior Ensign of the 46th, with the 
King's colours — the flag of Union, drooping 
in stripes of scarlet, white, and blue. On 
his right strained a boat's crew of the New 
York regiment, with the great patroon, Philip 
Schuyler himself, erect in the stern sheets 
and steering, in blue uniform and three- 
cornered hat ; too grand a gentleman to 
recognise our Ensign, although John had 
danced the night through in the Schuylers' 
famous white ballroom on the eve of march- 
ing from Albany, and had flung packets of 
sweetmeats into the nursery windows at 
dawn and awakened three night-gowned 
little girls to blow kisses after him as he 



MALBROUCK S'EN VA T'EN GUERRE 7 

took his way down the hill from the Schuyler 
mansion. That was a month ago. To John 
it seemed years since he had left Albany and 
its straight sidewalks dappled with maple 
shade : but the patroon's face was the same, 
sedately cheerful now as then when he had 
moved among his guests with a gracious 
word for each and a brow unclouded by the 
morrow. 

Men like Philip Schuyler do not suffer 
to-morrows to perturb them, since to them 
every morrow dawns big with duties, respon- 
sibilities, risks. John caught himself wonder- 
ing to what that calm face looked forward, 
at the lake-end, where the forests slept upon 
their shadows and the mountains descended 
and closed like fairy gates. For John himself 
Fame waited beyond those gates. Although 
in the last three or four weeks he had en- 
dured more actual hardships than in all his 
life before, he had enjoyed them thoroughly 
and felt that they were hardening him into 
a man. He understood now why the tales 
he had read at school in his Homer and 
Ovid — tales of Ulysses, of Hercules and 
Perseus — were never sorrowful, however 
severe the heroes' labours. For were they 
not undergone in just such a shining atmo- 
sphere as this ? 

His mind ran on these ancient tales, and 



8 FORT AMITY 

so, memory reverting to Douai and the 
seminary class-room in which he had first 
construed them, he began unconsciously to 
set the lines of an old repetition-lesson to the 
stroke of the oars. 

Angustam amice pauperiem pati 
robustus acri militia puer 
condiscat et Parthos feroces 
vexet eques metuendus hasta : 

Vitamque sub divo et trepidis agat 
in rebus . . . 

— and so on, with halts and breaks where 
memory failed him. Parthos — these would 
be the Indians — Abenakis, Algonquins, 
Hurons, whomsoever Montcalm might have 
gathered yonder in the woods with him. 
Dulce et decorum est — yes, to be sure ; in a 
little while he would be facing death for his 
country ; but he did not feel in the least like 
dying. A sight of Philip Schuyler's face 
sent him sliding into the next odQ—Jztsttmi 
et tenacem . . . noii voltus znstantis tyi'anni. 
. . . John a Cleeve would have started had the 
future opened for an instant and revealed 
the face of the tyrant Philip Schuyler was 
soon to defy : and Schuyler would have 
started too. 

Then John remembered his cousin's letter, 
and pulled it from his pocket again. . . . 



MALBROUCK S'EN VA T'EN GUERRE 9 

" And if A bercromby 's your CcBsar — zuhick 
is as much as I'll risk saying in a letter 
which may be opened before it reaches you — 
why, you have Howe to clip his parade wig 
as he's already docked the men's coat-tails. 
So here's five pounds on it, and let it be a 
match — Wolfe agaiitst Howe, and shall J. a C. 
or R. M. be first in Quebec? And another 
five pounds^ if you will^ on our epaulettes : 
for I repeat to you, this is Pitt's consulship, 
and promotion henceforth comes to men as 
they deserve it. Look at Wolfe, sir — a man 
barely thirty -two — and the ball bict just set 
7'olling ! Wherefore I too am resolved to 
enter Quebec a Bi'igadiei^-General, %vho now 
go carrying the colours of the lyth to Louis- 
bourp-. We but ivait Genl. Amherst, who is 

o 

expected daily, and then yco-heave-ho for the 
nor'ard ! Farewell, dearest Jack ! Given 
in this our camp at Halifax, the twelfth of 
May, 1758, in the middle of a plaguy fog, by 
your affect, cousin — R. Montgomery." 

John smiled as he folded up the letter, so 
characteristic of Dick. Dick was always in 
perfect spirits, always confident in himself. 
It was characteristic of Dick, too, to call 
himself Romulus and his friend Remus, 
meaning- no slight, simply because he always 
took himself for granted as the leading spirit. 



lo FORT AMITY 

It had always been so even in the days when 
they had gone birds'-nesting or rook-shooting 
together in the woods around John's Devon- 
shire home. Always John had yielded the 
lead to this freckled Irish cousin (the kinship 
was, in fact, a remote one and lay on their 
mother's side through the Ranelagh family) ; 
and years had but seemed to widen the three 
months' gap in their ages. 

Dick's parents were Protestant ; and Dick 
had gone to Trinity College, Dublin, pass- 
ing thence to an ensigncy in the 1 7th (Forbes') 
Regiment. The a Cleeves, on the other 
hand, had always been Roman Catholics, 
and by consequence had lived for generations 
somewhat isolated among the Devon gentry, 
their neighbours. When John looked back 
on his boyhood, his prevailing impressions 
were of a large house set low in a valley, 
belted with sombre dripping elms and haunted 
by Roman Catholic priests — some fat and 
rosy— some lean and cadaverous — but all soft- 
footed ; of an insufficiency of light in the 
rooms ; and of a sad lack of fellow-creatures 
willing to play with him. His parents were 
old, and he had been born late to them — 
twelve years after Philip, his only brother 
and the heir. From the first his mother had 
destined him for the priesthood, and a suc- 
cession of priests had been his tutors : but — 



MALBROUCK S'EN VA T'EN GUERRE ii 

What instinct is there in the sacerdotal mind 
which warns it off some cases as hopeless 
from the first ? Here was a child, docile, 
affectionate, moody at times, but eager to 
please and glad to be rewarded by a smile ; 
bred among priests and designed to be a 
priest; yet amid a thousand admonishments, 
chastisements, encouragements, blandish- 
ments, the child — with a child's sure instinct 
for sincerity — could not remember having 
been spoken to sincerely, with heart open to 
heart. Years later, when in the seminary at 
Douai the little worm of scepticism began 
to stir in his brain and grow, feeding on the 
books of M. Voltaire and other forbidden 
writings, he wondered if his many tutors had 
been, one and all, unconsciously prescient. 
But he was an honest lad. He threw up the 
seminary, returned to Cleeve Court, and an- 
nounced with tears to his mother (his father 
had died two years before) that he could not 
be a priest. She told him, stonily, that he 
had disappointed her dearest hopes and 
broken her heart. His brother — the Squire 
now, and a prig from his cradle — took him 
out for a long walk, argued with him as with 
a fractious child, and, without attending to 
his answers, finally gave him up as a bad job. 
So an ensigncy was procured, and John a 
Cleeve shipped from Cork to Halifax, to fight 



12 FORT AMITY 

the French in America. At Cork he had met 
and renewed acquaintance with his Irish 
cousin, Dick Montgomery. They had met 
again in HaHfax, which they reached in 
separate transports, and had passed the win- 
ter there in company. Dick clapped his 
cousin on the back and laughed impartially 
at his doubts and the family distress. Dick 
had no doubts ; always saw clearly and made 
up his mind at once ; was, moreover, very 
little concerned with religion (beyond damn- 
ing the Pope), and a great deal concerned 
with soldiering. He fascinated John, as the 
practical man usually fascinates the specula- 
tive. So Remus listened to Romulus and 
began to be less contrite in his home-letters. 
To the smallest love at home (of the kind 
that understands, or tries to understand) he 
would have responded religiously ; but he 
had found such nowhere save in Dick — who, 
besides, was a gallant young gentleman, and 
scrupulous on all points of honour. He took 
fire from Dick ; almost worshipped him ; and 
wished now, as the flotilla swept on and the 
bands woke louder echoes from the narrow- 
ing shore, that Dick were here to see how 
the last few weeks had tanned and hardened 
him. 

The troops came to land before nightfall at 
Sabbath Day Point, twenty-five miles down 



MALBROUCK S'EN VA T'EN GUERRE 13 

the lake; stretched themselves to doze for a 
while in the dry undergrowth ; re-embarked 
under the stars and, rowing on through the 
dawn, reached the lake-end at ten in the 
morning. Here they found the first trace of 
the enemy — a bridge broken in two over the 
river which drains into Lake Champlain. A 
small French rear-guard loitered here ; but 
two companies of riflemen were landed and 
drove it back into the woods, without loss. 
The boats discharged the British unopposed, 
who now set forward afoot through the forest 
to follow the left bank of the stream, which, 
leaving the lake tranquilly, is broken presently 
by stony rapids and grows smooth again only 
as it nears its new reservoir. Smooth, rapid, 
and smooth again, it sweeps round a long 
bend ; and this bend the British prepared to 
follow, leaving a force to guard the boats. 

Howe led, feeling forward with his light 
infantry ; and the army followed in much the 
same disposition they had held down the lake ; 
regulars in the centre, provincials on either 
flank ; a long scarlet body creeping with broad 
blue wings — or so it might have appeared to 
a bird with sight able to pierce the overlacing 
boughs. To John a Cleeve, warily testing 
the thickets with the butt of his staff and pull- 
ing the thorns aside lest they should rip its 
precious silken folds, the advance, after the 



14 FORT AMITY 

first ten minutes, seemed to keep no more 
order than a gang of children pressing after 
blackberries. Somewhere on his right the 
rapids murmured; men struggled beside him 
— now a dozen redcoats, now a few knowing 
Provincials who had lost their regiments, 
but were cocksure of the right path. And 
always — before, behind and all around him — 
sounded the calls of the parade-ground : — 
"Sub-divisions — left front — mark time! Left, 
half turn ! Three files on the left — left turn 
— wheel ! — files to the front ! " Singular in- 
structions for men grappling with a virgin 
forest ! 

If the standing trees were bad, the fallen 
ones — and there seemed to be a diabolical 
number of them — were ten times worse. 
John was straddling the trunk of one and 
cursing vehemently when a sound struck on 
his ears, more intelligible than any parade- 
call. It came back to him from the front : 
the sharp sound of musketry — two volleys. 

The parade-calls ceased suddenly all 
around him. He listened, still sitting astride 
the trunk. One or two redcoats leaped it, 
shouting as they leaped, and followed the 
sound, which crackled now as though the 
whole green forest were on fire. By-and-by, 
as he listened, a mustachioed man in a short 
jacket— one of Gage's light infantry — came 



iMALBROUCK S'EN VA TEN GUERRE 15 

bursting through the undergrowth, capless, 
shouting for a surgeon. 

''What's wrong in front?" asked John, as 
the man — scarcely regarding him — laid his 
hands on the trunk to vault it. 

*' Faith, and I don't know, redcoat ; ex- 
cept that they've killed him. Whereabouts 
is the General ? " 

"Who's killed?" 

"The best man amongst us: Lord Howe!" 

A second runner, following, shouted the 
same news ; and the two passed on together 
in search of the General. But already the 
tidings had spread along the front of the main 
body, as though wafted by a sudden wind 
through the undergrowth. Already, as John 
sat astride his log endeavouring to measure 
up the loss, to right and left of him bugles 
were sounding the halt. It seemed that as yet 
the mass of troops scarcely took in the mean- 
ing of the rumour, but awoke under the 
shock only to find themselves astray and 
without bearings. 

John's first sense was of a day made dark 
at a stroke. If this thing had happened, 
then the glory had gone out of the campaign. 
The army would by-and-by be marching on, 
and would march again to-morrow ; the drill 
cries would begin again, the dull wrestle 
through swamps and thickets ; and in due 



i6 FORT AMITY 

time the men would press down upon the 
French forts and take them. But where 
would be the morning-'s cheerfulness, the 
spirit of youth which had carried the boats 
down the lake amid laughter and challenges 
to race, and at the landing-place set the men 
romping like schoolboys? The longer John 
considered, the more he marvelled at the 
hopes he and all the army had been building 
on this young soldier — and not the army 
only, but every colony. Messengers even 
now would be heading up the lake as fast as 
paddles could drive them, to take horse and 
gallop smoking to the Hudson, to bear the 
tidings to Albany, and from Albany ride 
south with it to New York, to Philadelphia, 
to Richmond. '* Lord Howe killed ! " From 
that long track of dismay John called his 
thoughts back to himself and the army. 
Howe — dead ? He, that up to an hour ago 
had been the pivot of so many activities, the 
centre on which veterans rested their con- 
fidence, and from which young soldiers drew 
their high spirits, the one commander whom 
the Provincials trusted and liked because he 
understood them ; for whom and for their 
faith in him the regulars would march till 
their legs failed them ! Wonderful how 
youth and looks and gallantry and brains 
together will grip hold of men and sway 



MALBROUCK S'EN VA T'EN GUERRE 17 

their imag-inations ! But how rare the alli- 
ance, and on how brittle a hazard resting! An 
unaimed bullet — a stop in the heart's pulsa- 
tion — and the star we followed has gone out, 
God knows whither. The hope of fifteen 
thousand men lies broken and sightless in 
a forest glade. They assure us that nothing 
in this world perishes, nor in the firmament 
above it : but we look up at the black space 
where a star has been quenched and know 
that something has failed us which to-morrow 
will not bring again. 

It was learnt afterwards that he had been 
killed by the first shot in the campaign. 
Montcalm had thrown out three hundred 
rangers overnight under Langy to feel the 
British advance : but so dense was the 
tangle that even these experienced woodmen 
went astray during the night and, in hunting 
for tracks, blundered upon Howe's light 
infantry at unawares. In the moment of 
surprise each side let fly with a volley, and 
Howe fell instantly, shot through the heart. 

The British bivouacked in the woods that 
night. Toward dawn John a Cleeve stretched 
himself, felt for his arms, and lay for a while 
staring up at a solitary star visible through 
the overhanging boughs. He was wondering 
what had awakened him, when his ears grew 
aware of a voice in the distance, singing — 
c 



r8 FORT AMITY 

either deep in the forest or on some hillside 
to the northward : a clear tenor voice shaken 
out on the still air with a tremolo such as the 
Provencals love. It sang to the army and 
to him : — 

Malbrouck s'en va t'en guerre : 
Mironton, mironton, mirontaine! 

Malbrouck s'en va t'en guerre : 
— Ne sais quand riviendra ! 



CHAPTER II 
A BIVOUAC IN THE FOREST 

THROUGH the night, meanwhile, Mont- 
calm and his men had been working 
like demons. 

The stone fort of Ticonderoga stood far 
out on a bluff at the head of Lake Cham- 
plain, its base descending on the one hand 
into the still lake-water, on the other swept 
by the river which the British had been try- 
ing to follow, and which here, its rapids 
passed, disembogues in a smooth strong 
flood. It stood high, too, over these meet- 
ing waters ; but as a military position was 
next to worthless, being dominated, across 
the river on the south, by a loftier hill called 
Rattlesnake Mountain. 

Such was Ticonderoga ; and hither Mont- 
calm had hurried up the Richelieu River 
from the north to find Bourlamaque, that good 
fighter, posted with the regiments of La 
Reine, Beam, and Guienne, and a few Can- 
adian regulars and militia. He himself had 
brought the battalions of La Sarre and De 

19 



20 FORT AMITY 

Berry — a picked force, if ever there was one, 
but scarcely above three thousand strong. 

A couple of miles above the fort and just 
below the rapids, a bridge spanned the river. 
A saw-mill stood beside it : and here Mont- 
calm had crossed and taken up his quarters, 
pushing forward Bourlamaque to guard the 
upper end of the rapids, and holding Langy 
ready with three hundred rangers to patrol the 
woods on the outer side of the river's loop. 

But when his scouts and Indians came in 
with the news of the British embarking on 
the upper shore, and with reports of their 
multitude, Montcalm perceived that the river 
could not be held ; and, having recalled 
Bourlamaque and broken down the bridges 
above and below the rapids, withdrew his 
force again to Ticonderoga, leaving only 
Langy's rangers in the further woods to feel 
the enemy's approach. 

Next he had to ask himself. Could the fort 
be defended ? All agreed that it could not, 
with Rattlesnake Mountain overtopping it : 
and the most were for evacuating it and re- 
tiring up Lake Champlain to the stronger 
French fort on Crown Point. But Montcalm 
was expecting L6vis at any moment with re- 
inforcements ; and studying the ridge at the 
extreme end of which the fort stood, he 
decided that the position ought not to be 



A BIVOUAC IN THE FOREST 21 

abandoned. This ridge ran inland, its slope 
narrowed on either side between the river 
and the lake by swamps, and approachable 
only from landward over the col, where it 
broadened and dipped to the foot-hills. 
Here, at the entrance to the ridge, and half 
a mile from his fort, he commanded his men 
to throw up an entrenchment and cut down 
trees ; and while the sappers fell to work he 
traced out the lines of a rude star-fort, with 
curtains and jutting angles from which the 
curtains could be enfiladed. Through the 
dawn, while the British slept in the woods, 
the Frenchmen laboured, hacking and felling. 
Scores of trees they left to lie and encumber 
the ground : others they dragged, unlopped, 
to the entrenchment, and piled them before it, 
trunks inward and radiating from its angles ; 
lacing their boughs together or roughly point- 
ing them with a few strokes of the axe. 

In the growing daylight the chevaux-dc- 
frisc began to look formidable ; but Bourla- 
maque, watching it with Montcalm, shook 
his head, hunched his shoulders, and jerked 
a thumb toward a spur of Rattlesnake Moun- 
tain, by which their defences were glaringly 
commanded. 

Montcalm said, ''We will risk it. Those 
English Generals are inconceivable." 

" But a cannon or two " 



22 FORT AMITY 

"If he think of them ! Believe me, who 
have tried : you never know what an English 
General will do — or what his soldiers won't. 
Pile the trees higher, my braves — more than 
breast-high — mountain-high if time serves ! 
But this Abercromby comes from a land 
where the bees fly tail-foremost by rule." 

*' With all submission, I would still recom- 
mend Crown Point." 

*^ Should he, by chance, think of planting 
a gun yonder, I feel sure that notion will ex- 
clude all others. We shall open the door 
and retreat on Crown Point unmolested." 

Bourlamaque drew in a long breath and 
emitted it in a mighty poiif ! 

*'I am not conducting his campaign for 
him," said his superior calmly. '*God for- 
bid ! I once imagined myself in his prede- 
cessor's place, the Earl of Loudon's, and 
within twenty minutes France had lost Can- 
ada. I shudder at it still ! " 

Bourlamaque laughed. Montcalm had 
said it with a whimsical smile, and it passed 
him unheeded that the smile ended in a con- 
tracting of the brows and a bitter little sigh. 
The fighter judged war by its victories ; the 
strategist by their effects. Montcalm could 
win victories ; even now, by putting himself 
into what might pass for his adversary's mind, 
he hoped to snatch a success against odds. 



A BIVOUAC IN THE FOREST 23 

But what avails it to administer drubbings 
which but leave your foe the more stubbornly 
aggressive ? British Generals blundered, but 
always the British armies came on. War 
had been declared three years ago ; actually 
it had lasted for four ; and the sum of its 
results was that France, with her chain of 
forts planted for aggression from the St. Law- 
rence to the Ohio, had turned to defending 
them. His countrymen might throw up their 
caps over splendid repulses of the foe, and 
hail such for triumphs ; but Montcalm looked 
beneath the laurels. 

The British, having slept the night in the 
woods, were mustered at dawn and marched 
back to the landing-place. Their General, 
falling back upon common sense after the 
loss of a precious day, was now resolved to 
try the short and beaten path by which 
Montcalm had retreated. It formed a four- 
mile chord, with the loop of the river for arc, 
and presented no real difficulty except the 
broken bridge, which Bradstreet was sent 
forward to repair. 

But though beaten and easy to follow, the 
road was rough ; and Abercromby— in a 
sweating hurry now — determined to leave his 
guns behind. John a Cleeve, passing forward 
with his regiment, took note of them as they 
lay unlimbered amid the brushwood by the 



24 FORT AMITY 

landing-stage, and thought Httle of it. He 
had his drill-book by heart, relied for orders 
on his senior officers, and took pride in obey- 
ing them smartly. This seemed to him the 
way for a young soldier to learn his calling ; 
for the rest, war was a game of valour and 
would give him his opportunity. Theoreti- 
cally he knew the uses of artillery, but he 
was not an artilleryman ; nor had he ever 
felt the temptation to teach his grandmother 
to suck eggs. His cousin Dick's free com- 
ments upon white-headed Generals of divi- 
sion and brigade he let pass with a laugh. 
To Dick, the Earl of Loudon was "a mourn- 
ful thickhead," Webb ''a mighty handsome 
figure for a poltroon," Sackville ''a discreet 
footman for a ladies' drum," and the ances- 
tors of Abercromby had all been hanged for 
fools. Dick, very much at his ease in Sion, 
would have court-martialled and cashiered 
the lot out of hand. But John's priestly 
tutors had schooled him in diffidence, if in 
nothing else. 

His men to-day were in no pleasant hu- 
mour, and a few of them — veterans too — 
grumbled viciously as they passed the guns. 
''Silence in the ranks !" shouted the captain 
of his company ; and the familiar words 
soothed him, and he wondered what had 
provoked the grumbling. A minute later he 



A BIVOUAC IN THE FOREST 25 

had forgotten it. The column crawled for- 
ward sulkily. The shadow of Howe's loss 
lay heavy on it, and a sense that his life had 
been flung away. They had been marched 
into a jungle and marched back again, with 
nothing to show for it but twenty-four wasted 
hours. On they crawled beneath the swel- 
tering July heat ; and coming to the bridge, 
found more delays. 

Bradstreet and his men had w^orked like 
heroes, but the bridge would not be ready to 
carry troops before the early morning. A 
wooden saw-mill stood beside it, melancholy 
and deserted ; and here the General took up 
his quarters, while the army cooked its sup- 
per and disposed itself for the night in the 
trampled clearing around the mill and in the 
forest beyond. The 46th lay close alongside 
the river, and the noise of Bradstreet's ham- 
mers on the bridge kept John for a long while 
awake and staring up at the high western 
ridges, black as ink against the radiance of a 
climbing moon. In the intervals of ham- 
mering, the swirl of the river kept tune in 
his ears with the whir-r-r of a saw in the rear 
of the mill, slicing up the last planks for the 
bridge. There was a mill in the valley at 
home, and he had heard it a hundred times 
making just such music with the stream that 
ran down from Dartmoor and past Cleeve 



26 FORT AMITY 

Court. His thoughts went back to Devon- 
shire, but not to linger there ; only to won- 
der how much love his mother would put 
into her prayers could she be reached by a 
vision of him stretched here with his first 
battle waiting for him on the morrow. He 
wondered, not bitterly, if her chief reflection 
would be that he had brought the unpleasant 
experience on himself when he might have 
been safe in a priest's cassock. He laughed. 
How little she understood him, or had ever 
understood ! 

His heart went out to salute the morrow 
— and yet soberly. Outside of his simple 
duties of routine he was just an unshaped 
subaltern, with eyes sealed as yet to war's 
practical teachings. To him, albeit he would 
have been puzzled had any one told him so, 
war existed as yet only as a spiritual conflict 
in which men proved themselves heroes or 
cowards: and he meant to be a hero. For 
him everything lay in the will to dare or to 
endure. He recalled tales of old knights 
keeping vigil by their arms in solitary 
chapels, and he questioned the far hill-tops 
and the stars — What substitute for faith 
supported him ? Did he believe in God ? 
Yes, after a fashion — in some tremendous 
and overruling Power, at any rate. A 
Power that had made the mountains yonder? 



A BIVOUAC IN THE FOREST 27 

Yes, he supposed so. A loving Power — an 
intimate counsellor — a Father attending all 
his steps ? Well, perhaps ; and, if so, a 
Father to be answered with all a man's love: 
but, before answering, he honestly needed 
more assurance. As for another world and 
a continuing life there, should he happen to 
fall to-morrow, John searched his heart and 
decided that he asked for nothing of the 
sort. Such promises struck him as unworthy 
bribes, belittling the sacrifice he came pre- 
pared to make. He despised men who bar- 
gained with them. Here was he, young, 
abounding in life, ready to risk extinction. 
Why ? For a cause (some might say), and 
that cause his country's. Maybe : he had 
never thought this out. To be sure he was 
proud to carry the regimental colours, and 
had rather belong to the 46th than to any 
other regiment. The honour of the 46th was 
dear to him now as his own. But why, 
again ? Pure accident had assigned him to 
the 46th : as for love of his country, he could 
not remember that it had played any con- 
spicuous part in sending him to join the 
army. The hammering on the bridge had 
ceased without his noting it, and also the 
whirr of the saw. Only the river sang to 
him now : and to the swirl of it he dropped 
off into a dreamless, healthy sleep. 



CHAPTER III 

TICONDEROGA 

AT the alarm-post next morning the men 
Jr\ were in high spirits again. Every one 
seemed to be posted in the day's work ahead. 
The French had thrown up an outwork on 
the landward end of the ridge ; an engineer 
had climbed Rattlesnake Mountain at day- 
break and conned it through his glass, and 
had brought down his report two hours ago. 
The white-coats had been working like nig- 
gers, helped by some reinforcements which 
had come in overnight — Levis with the Royal 
Roussillon, the scouts said : but the thing was 
a rough and ready affair of logs and the 
troops were to carry it with the bayonet. 
John asked in what direction it lay, and 
thumbs were jerked towards the screening 
forest across the river. The distance (some 
said) was not two miles. Colonel Beaver, 
returning from a visit to the saw-mill, con- 
firmed the rumour. The 46th would march 
in a couple of hours or less. 

28 



TICONDEROGA 29 

At breakfast Howe's death seemed to be 
forgotten, and John found no time for 
solemn thoughts. Bets were laid that the 
French would not wait for the assault, but 
slip away to their boats ; even with Levis 
they could scarcely be four thousand strong. 
Bradstreet, having finished his bridge, had 
started back for the landing-stage to haul a 
dozen of the lighter batteaux across the 
portage and float them down to Lake Champ- 
lain filled with riflemen. Bradstreet was a 
glutton for work — but would he be in time ? 
That old fox Montcalm would never let his 
earths be stopped so easily, and to pile de- 
fences on the ridge was simply to build him- 
self into a trap. A good half of the officers 
maintained that there would be no fighting. 

Well, fighting or no, some business was in 
hand. Here was the battalion in motion ; 
and, to leave the enemy in no doubt of our 
martial ardour, here were the drums playing 
away like mad. The echo of John's feet on 
the wooden bridge awoke him from these 
vain shows and rattlings of war to its real 
meaning, and his thoughts again kept him 
solemn company as he breasted the slope 
beyond and began the tedious climb to the 
right through the woods. 

The scouts, coming in one by one, re- 
ported them undefended : and the battalion, 



30 FORT AMITY 

though perforce moving slowly, kept good 
order. Towards the summit, indeed, the 
front ranks appeared to straggle and extend 
themselves confusedly : but the disorder, no 
more than apparent, came from the skirmish- 
ers returning and falling back upon either 
flank as the column scrambled up the last 
five hundred yards and halted on the fringe 
of the clearing. Of the enemy John could 
see nothing : only a broad belt of sunlight 
beyond the last few tree-trunks and their 
green eaves. The advance had been well 
timed, the separate columns arriving and 
coming to the halt almost at clockwork 
intervals ; nor did the halt give him much 
leisure to look about him. To the right 
were drawn up the Highlanders, their dark 
plaids blending with the forest glooms. In 
the space between, Beaver had stepped for- 
ward and was chatting with their colonel. 
By-and-by the dandified Gage joined them, 
and after a few minutes' talk Beaver came 
striding back, with his scabbard tucked 
under his armpit, to be clear of the under- 
growth. At once the order was given to fix 
bayonets, and at a signal the columns were 
put in motion and marched out upon the 
edge of the clearing. 

There, as he stepped forth, the flash of 
the noonday sun upon lines of steel held 



TICONDEROGA 31 

John's eyes dazzled. He heard the word 
given again to halt, and the command ''Left, 
wheel into line ! " He heard the calls that 
followed— ''Eyes front!" "Steady," "Quick 
march," "Halt, dress" — and felt, rather than 
saw, the whole elaborate manoeuvre ; the 
rear ranks locking up, the covering sergeants 
jigging about like dancers in a minuet — pace 
to the rear, side step to the right — the pivot 
men with stiff arms extended, the companies 
wheeling up and dressing ; all happening 
precisely as on parade. 

What, after all, was the difference ? Well, 
to begin with, the clearing ahead in no way 
resembled a parade-ground, being strewn 
and criss-crossed with fallen trees and inter- 
set with stumps, some cleanly cut, others 
with jagged splinters from three to ten feet 
high. And beyond, with the fierce sunlight 
quivering above it, rose a mass of prostrate 
trees piled as if for the base of a tremendous 
bonfire. Not a Frenchman showed behind 
it. Was that what they had to carry ? 

"The battalion will advance ! " 

Yes, there lay the barrier ; and their busi- 
ness was simply to rush it ; to advance at the 
charge, holding their fire until within the 
breastwork. 

The French, too, held their fire. The 
distance from the edge of the clearing to the 



32 FORT AMITY 

abattis was, at the most, a long musket-shot, 
and for two-thirds of it the crescent-shaped 
Hne of British ran as in a paper-chase, John 
a Cleeve vaulting" across tree-trunks, leaping 
over stumps, and hurrahing with the rest. 

Then with a flame the breastwork opened 
before him, and with a shock as though the 
whole ridge lifted itself against the sky — a 
shock which hurled him backward, whirling 
away his shako. He saw the line to right 
and left wither under it and shrink like 
parchment held to a candle flame. For a 
moment the ensign-staff shook in his hands, 
as if whipped by a gale. He steadied it, and 
stood dazed, hearkening to the scream of the 
bullets, gulping at a lump in his throat. 
Then he knew himself unhurt, and, seeing 
that men on either hand were picking them- 
selves up and running forward, he ducked 
his head and ran forward too. 

He had gained the abattis. He went into 
it with a leap, a dozen men at his heels. A 
pointed bough met him in the ribs, piercing 
his tunic and forcing him to cry out with pain. 
He fell back from it and tugged at the inter- 
lacing boughs between him and the log-wall, 
fighting them with his left, pressing them 
aside, now attempting to leap them, now to 
burst through them with his weight. The 
wall jetted flame through its crevices, and 



TICONDEROGA 33 

the boughs held him fast within twenty yards 
of it. He could reach it easily (he told him- 
self) but for the staff he carried, ag-ainst 
which each separate twig hitched itself as 
though animated by special malice. 

He swung himself round and forced his 
body backwards against the tangle ; and a 
score of men, rallying to the colours, leapt 
in after him. As their weight pressed him 
down supine and the flag sank in his grasp, 
he saw their faces — Highlanders and red- 
coats mixed. They had long since disre- 
garded the order to hold their fire ; and were 
blazing away idly and reloading, cursing the 
boughs that impeded their ramrods. A cor- 
poral of the 46th had managed to reload and 
was lifting his piece when — a bramble catch- 
ing in the lock — the charge exploded in his 
face, and he fell, a bloody weight, across 
John's legs. Half a dozen men, leaping 
over him, hurled themselves into the lane 
which John had opened. 

Ten seconds later — but in such a struggle 
who can count seconds ?— John had flung off 
the dead man and was on his feet again with 
his face to the rampart. The men who had 
hurried past him were there, all six of them ; 
but stuck in strange attitudes and hung 
across the withering boughs like vermin on 
a gamekeeper's tree — corpses every one. 



34 FORT AMITY 

The rest had vanished, and, turning, he 
found himself alone. Out in the clearing-, 
under the drifted smoke, the shattered regi- 
ments were re-forming for a second charge. 
Gripping the colours he staggered out to 
join them, and as he went a bullet sang past 
him and his left wrist dropped nerveless at 
his side. He scarcely felt the wound. The 
brutal jar of the repulse had stunned every 
sense in him but that of thirst. The reek 
of gunpowder caked his throat, and his 
tongue crackled in his mouth like a withered 
leaf. 

Some one was pointing back over the tree- 
tops toward Rattlesnake Mountain ; and on 
the slopes there, as the smoke cleared, sure 
enough, figures were moving. Guns ? A 
couple of guns planted there could have 
knocked this cursed rampart to flinders in 
twenty minutes, or plumped round shot at 
leisure among the French huddled within. 
Where was the General ? 

The General was down at the saw-mill in 
the valley, seated at his table, penning a 
despatch. The men on Rattlesnake Moun- 
tain were Johnson's Indians — Mohawks, 
Oneidas, and others of the Six Nations — 
who, arriving late, had swarmed up by in- 
stinct to the key of the position and seated 
themselves there with impassive faces, ask- 



TICONDEROGA 35 

ing each other when the guns would arrive 
and this stupid folly cease. They had seen 
artillery, perhaps, once in their lives ; and 
had learnt the use of it. 

Oh, it was cruel ! By this time there was 
not a man in the army but could have taught 
the General the madness of it. But the 
General was down at the saw-mill, two miles 
away ; and the broken regiments re-formed 
and faced the rampart again. The sun beat 
down on the clearing, heating men to mad- 
ness. The wounded went down through the 
gloom of the woods and were carried past 
the saw-mill, by scores at first, then by 
hundreds. Within the saw-mill, in his cool 
chamber, the General sat and wrote. Some 
one (Gage it is likely) sent down, beseeching 
him to bring the guns into play. He an- 
swered that the guns were at the landing- 
stage, and could not be planted within six 
hours. A second messenger suggested that 
the assault on the ridge had already caused 
inordinate loss, and that by the simple pro- 
cess of marching around Ticonderoga and 
occupying the narrows of Lake Champlain 
Montcalm could be starved out in a week. 
The General showed him the door. Upon 
the ridge the fight went on. 

John a Cleeve had by this time lost count 
of the charges. Some had been feeble ; one 



36 FORT AMITY 

or two superb ; and once the Highlanders, 
with a gallantry only possible to men past 
caring for life, had actually heaved them- 
selves over the parapets on the French right. 
They had gone into action a thousand 
strong ; they were now six hundred. Charge 
after charge had flung forward a few to leap 
the rampart and fall on the French bayonets ; 
but now the best part of a company poured 
over. For a moment sheer desperation car- 
ried the day ; but the white-coats, springing 
back off their platforms, poured in a volley 
and settled the question. That night the 
Black Watch called its roll : there answered 
five hundred men less one. 

It was in the next charge after this — half- 
heartedly taken up by the exhausted troops 
on the right — that John a Cleeve found him- 
self actually climbing the log-wall toward 
which he had been straining all the after- 
noon. What carried him there — he after- 
wards affirmed — was the horrid vision of 
young Sagramore of the 27th impaled on a 
pointed branch and left to struggle in death- 
agony while the regiments rallied. The 
body was quivering yet as they came on 
again ; and John, as he ran by, shouted to a 
sergeant to drag it off : for his own left hand 
hung powerless, and the colours encumbered 
his right. In front of him repeated charges 



TICONDEROGA 37 

had broken a sort of pathway through the 
abattis, swept indeed by an enfilading fire 
from two angles of the breastwork, slippery 
with blood and hampered with corpses ; but 
the grape-shot which had accounted for most 
of these no longer whistled along it, the 
French having run off their guns to the right 
to meet the capital attack of the Highlanders. 
Through it he forced his way, the pressure 
of the men behind lifting and bearing him 
forward whenever the ensign - staff for a 
moment impeded him. He noted that the 
leaves, which at noon had been green and 
sappy, with only a slight crumpling of their 
edges, were now grey and curled into tight 
scrolls, crackling as he brushed them aside. 
How long had the day lasted, then? And 
would it ever end ? The vision of young 
Sagramore followed him. He had known 
Sagramore at Halifax and invited him to 
mess one night with the 46th — as brainless 
and sweet-tempered a boy as ever muddled 
his drill. 

John was at the foot of the rampart. While 
with his injured hand he fumbled vainly to 
climb it, someone stooped a shoulder and 
hoisted him. He flung a leg over the para- 
pet and glanced down a moment at the 
man's face. It was the sergeant to whom he 
had shouted just now. 



38 FORT AMITY 

*' Right, sir," the sergeant grunted; 
'' we're after you ! " 

John hoisted the colours high and hur- 
rahed. 

** Forward ! Forward, Forty-sixth ! " 

Then, as a dozen men heaved themselves 
on to the parapet, a fiery pang gripped him 
by the chest, and the night — so long held 
back — came suddenly, swooping on him from 
all corners of the sky at once. The grip of 
his knees relaxed. The sergeant, leaping, 
caught the standard in the nick of time, as 
the limp body slid and dropped within the 
rampart. 



CHAPTER IV 
THE VOYAGEURS 

Fringue, fringue sur la riviere ; 
Fringue, fringue sur I'aviron ! 

THE man at the bow paddle set the 
chorus, which was taken up by boat 
after boat. John, stretched at the bottom 
of a canoe with two wounded Highlanders, 
wondered where he had heard the voice 
before. His wits were not very clear yet. 
The canoe's gunwale hid all the landscape 
but a mountain-ridge high over his right, 
feathered with forest and so far away that, 
swiftly as the strokes carried him forward, its 
serrated pines and notches of naked rock 
crept by him inch by inch. He stared at 
these and prayed for the moment when the 
sun should drop behind them. For hours it 
had been beating down on him. An Indian 
sat high in the stern, steering ; paddling 
rhythmically and with no sign of effort except 
that his face ran with sweat beneath its 
grease and vermilion. But not a feature of 

39 



40 FORT AMITY 

it twitched in the glare across which, hour 
after hour, John had been watching* him 
through scorched eyelashes. 

Athwart the stern, and almost at the 
Indian's feet, reclined a brawn of a man with 
his knees drawn high — a French sergeant in 
a spick-and-span white tunic with the badge 
of the Bearnais regiment. A musket lay 
across his thighs, so pointed that John looked 
straight down its barrel. Doubtless it was 
loaded : but John had plenty to distract his 
thoughts from such a trifle — in the heat, the 
glare, the torment of his wounds, and, worst 
of all, the incessant coughing of the young 
Highlander beside him. The lad had been 
shot through the lungs, and the wound im- 
perfectly bandaged. A horrible wind issued 
from it with every cough. 

How many men might be seated or lying 
in the fore part of the canoe John could not 
tell, being unable to turn his head. Once or 
twice a guttural voice there growled a word 
of comfort to the dying lad, in Gaelic or in 
broken English. And always the bowman 
sang high and clear, setting the chorus for 
the attendant boats, and from the chorus 
passing without a break into the solo. '' En 
roulant ma boule " followed " Fringue sur 
I'aviron " ; and from that the voice slid into 
a little love-chant, tender and delicate : 



THE VOYAGEURS 41 

*' A la claire Fontaine 
M'en allant promener, 
J'ai trouv6 I'eau si belle 
Que je m'y suis baignd. 

II y a longtemps que je t'aime, 
Jamais je ne t'oublierai." 

'' II y a longtemps que je t'aime," broke in 
the chorus, the wide lake modulating the 
music as water only can. John remembered 
the abattis and all its slaughter, and mar- 
velled what manner of men they were who, 
fresh from it, could put their hearts into such 
a song. 

" Et patati, et patata ! " rapped in the big 
sergeant. *' For God's sake, Chameau, what 
kind of milk is this to turn a man's stomach?" 

The chorus drowned his growls, and the 
bowman continued : 

'* Sur la plus haute branche 
Le rossignol, chantait, 
Chante, rossignol, chante, 
Toi qui as le cceur gai . . . 
Chante, rossignol, chante, 
Toi qui as le coeur gai ; 
Tu as le coeur k rire, 
Moi je I'ait ^ pleurer. ..." 

''Gr-r-r — " As the song ended, the ser- 
geant spat contemptuously over the gunwale. 
"La-la-la, rossignol! et la-la-la, rosier!" 
he mimicked. "We are not ros/cresy my 
friend." 



42 FORT AMITY 

''The song is true Canayan, m'sieur, and 
your comrades appear to like it." 

" Par exemple ! Listen, Monsieur Cham- 
eau, to something more in their line." He 
inflated his huge lungs and burst into a ditty 
of his own : 

" C'est dans la ville de Bordeaux 
Qu'est arrive trois beaux vaissaux— 

Qu'est arriv6 trois beaux vaissaux : 
Les matelots qui sont dedans, 
Vrai Dieu, sont de jolis galants." 

The man had a rich baritone voice, not com- 
parable indeed with the bowman's tenor, yet 
not without quality; but he used it affectedly, 
and sang with a simper on his face. His face, 
brick red in hue, was handsome in its florid 
way ; but John, watching the simper, found 
it detestable. 

" C'est une dame de Bordeaux 
Qu'est amoureuse d'un matelot " 

Here he paused, and a few soldiers took up 

the refrain half-heartedly : 

" — — Va, ma servante, va moi chercher 
Un matelot pour m'amuser." 

The song from this point became indecent, 
and set the men in the nearer boats laughing. 
At its close a few clapped their hands. But 
it was not a success, and the brick red dark- 
ened on the singer's face ; darkened almost 
to purple when a voice in the distance took 



THE VOYAGEURS 43 

up the air and returned it mockingly, cari- 
caturing a roulade to the Hfe with the help 
of one or two ridiculous gracenotes : at which 
the soldiers laughed again. 

'^ I think, m'sieur," suggested the bowman 
politely, "they do not know it very well, or 
they would doubtless have been heartier." 

But the sergeant had heaved himself up 
with a curse and a lurch which sent the canoe 
rocking, and was scanning the boats for the 
fellow who had dared to insult him. 

" How the devil can a man sing while that 
dog keeps barking ! " he growled, and let 
out a kick at the limp legs of the young 
Highlander. 

Another growl answered. It came from 
the wounded prisoner behind John — the man 
who had been muttering in Gaelic. 

" It is a coward you are, big man. Go on 
singing your sculduddery, and let the lad die 
quiet ! " 

The sergeant scowled, not understanding. 
John, whose blood was up, obligingly trans- 
lated the reproof into French. " He says — 
and I also — that you are a cowardly bully ; 
and we implore you to sing in tune, another 
time. Par pitie, monsieur, ne scalpez-vous 
pas les demi-morts ! " 

The shaft bit, as he had intended, and 
the man's vanity positively foamed upon it. 



44 FORT AMITY 

*' Dog of a ros-bif, congratulate yourself 
that you are half dead, or I would whip you 
again as we whipped you yesterday, and as 
my regiment is even now again whipping 
your compatriots." He jerked a thumb to- 
wards the south where, far up the lake, a pale 
saffron glow spread itself upon the twilight. 

"The English are burning your fort, may- 
be," John suggested amiably. 

''They are burning the mill, more like — 
or their boats. But after such a defeat, who 
cares : 

"If our general had only used his artil- 
lery " 

"Eh, what is that you're singing? Otti- 
da^ if your general had only used his artillery ? 
My little friend, that's a fine battle — that 
battle of 'If.' It is always won, too — only 
it has the misfortune never to be fought. So, 
so : and a grand battle it is too, for reputa- 
tions. '7/ the guns had only arrived '; and 
' if the brigadier Chose had brought up the 
reserves as ordered'; and '//"the right had ex- 
tended itself, and that devil of a left had not 
straggled ' — why then we should all be 
heroes, we ros-bifs. Whereas we came on 
four to one, and we were beaten ; and we are 
being carried north to Montreal and our 
general is running south from an army one- 
third of his size and burning fireworks on 



THE VOYAGEURS 45 

his way. And at Albany the ladies will take 
your standards and stitch '7/"' on them in 
gold letters a foot long. Eh, but it was a 
glorious fight — faith of Sergeant Barboux!" 

And Sergeant Barboux, having set his 
vanity on its legs again, pulled out his pipe 
and skin of tobacco. 

''Hola, M. le Chameau ! " he called; <'the 
gentleman desires better music than mine. 

Sing for him * Malbrouck s'en va t'en 

f > >) 
guerre ! 

M. le Chameau lifted his voice obediently; 
and thereupon John recognised the note and 
knew to whose singing he had lain awake in 
the woods so far behind and (it seemed) those 
ages ago. 

He had been young then, and all possi- 
bilities of glory lay beyond the horizons to 
which he was voyaging. Darkness had 
closed down on them, but the beat of the 
paddles drove him forward. He stared up at 
the peering stars and tried to bethink him 
that they looked down on the same world 
that he had known — on Albany — Halifax — 
perhaps even on Cleeve Court in Devonshire. 
The bowman's voice, ahead in the darkness, 
kept time with the paddles: 

" II reviendra-z k Paques — 

Mironton, mironton, mirontaine ! 
II reviendra-z k Paques, 
Ou— ^ la Trinity ! " 



46 FORT AMITY 

Yes, the question was of returning, now ; a 
day had made that difference. Yet why 
should he wish to return ? Of what worth 
would his return be ? For weeks, for months, 
he had been living' in a life ahead, towards 
which these paddles were faithfully guiding 
him ; and if the hope had died out of it, and 
all the colour, what better lay behind that he 
should seek back to it ? — a mother, who had 
shown him little love ; a brother, who coldly 
considered him a fool ; nearer, but only a 
little nearer — for already the leagues between 
seemed endless — a few friends, a few mess- 
mates . . . 

His ribs hurt him intolerably ; and his 
wrist, too, was painful. Yet his wounds 
troubled him with no thought of death. On 
the contrary, he felt quite sure of recovering 
and living on, and on, on, on — in those un- 
known regions ahead . . . 

" La Trinitt^ se passe — 

Mironton, mironton, mirontaine ! 
La Trinit^^ se passe — 

Malbrouck ne revient pas." 

What were they like, those regions ahead ? 
For he was young — less than twenty — and a 
life almost as long as an ordinary man's 
might lie before him yonder. He remem- 
bered an old discussion with a seminary 
priest at Douai, on Nicodemus's visit by night 



THE VOYAGEURS 47 

and his question, *' How can a man be born 
wlien he is old?" . . . and all his thoughts 
harked back to the Church he had left— that 
Church so Catholic, so far-reaching, so 
secure of herself in all climes and amid all 
nations of men. There were Jesuits, he 
knew, up yonder, beyond the rivers, beyond 
the forests. He would find that Church 
there, steadfast as these stars and, alone 
with them, bridging all this long gulf. In 
his momentary weakness the repose she 
offered came on him as a temptation. Had 
he but anchored himself upon her, all 
these leagues had been as nothing. But 
he had cut himself adrift ; and now the 
world, too, had cut him off, and where was 
he with his doubts? . . . Or was she follow- 
ing now and whispering, "Poor fool, you 
thought yourself strong, and I granted you 
a short license ; but I have followed, as I 
can follow everywhere, unseen, knowing the 
hour when you must repent and want me ; 
and lo ! my lap is open. Come, let its folds 
wrap you, and at once there is no more 
trouble ; for within them time and distance 
are not, and all this voyage shall be as a 
dream." 

No; he put the temptation from him. For 
it was a sensual temptation after all, sur- 
prising him in anguish and exhaustion and 



48 FORT AMITY 

bribing with promise of repose. He craved 
after it, but set his teeth. '*Yes, you are 
right, so far. The future has gone from me, 
and I have no hopes. But it seems I have 
to Hve, and I am a man. My doubts are my 
doubts, and this is no fair moment to aban- 
don them. What I must suffer, I will try to 
suffer. . . ." 

The bowman had lit a lantern in the bows 
and passed back the resinous brand to an 
Indian seated forward, who in turn handed 
it back over John's head toward Sergeant 
Barboux, but, seeing that he dozed, crawled 
aft over the wounded men and set it to the 
wick of a second lantern rigged on a stick 
astern. As the wick took fire, the Indian, 
who had been steering hitherto hour after 
hour, grunted out a syllable or two and 
handed his comrade the paddle. The pair 
changed places, and the ex-steersman — who 
seemed the elder by many years — crept 
cautiously forward ; the lantern-light, as he 
passed it, falling warm on his scarlet trowsers 
and drawing fiery twinkles from his belt and 
silver arm-ring. 

With a guttural whisper he crouched over 
John, so low that his body blotted out the 
lantern, the stars, the whole dim arch of the 
heavens. Was this murder? John shut his 
teeth. If this were to be the end, let it come 



THE VOYAGEURS 49 

now and be done with ; he would not cry 
out. The Highland lad had ceased his 
coughing and lay unconscious, panting out 
the last of his life more and more feebly. 
The elder Highlander moaned from time to 
time in his sleep, but had not stirred for some 
while. Forward the bowman's paddle still 
beat time like a clock, and away in the dark- 
ness other paddles answered it. 

A hand was groping with the bandages 
about John's chest and loosening them 
gently until his wound felt the edge of the 
night wind. All his muscles stiffened to 
meet the coming stroke. . . . 

The Indian grunted and withdrew his hand. 
A moment, and John felt it laid on the wound 
again, with a touch which charmed away 
pain and the wind's chill together — a touch 
of smooth ointment. 

Do what he would, a sob shook the lad 
from head to foot. 

"Thanks, brother!" he whispered in 
French. The Indian did not answer, but 
replaced and drew close the bandage with 
rapid hands, and so with another grunt 
crawled forward, moving like a shadow, 
scarcely touching the wounded men as he 
went. 

For a while John lay awake, gazing up 
into the stars. His pain had gone, and he 



50 FORT AMITY 

felt infinitely restful. The vast heavens were 
a protection now, a shield flung over his help- 
lessness. He had found a friend. 

Why? 

That he could not tell. But he had found 
a friend, and could sleep. 

In his dreams he heard a splash. The 
young Highlander had died in the night, and 
Sergeant Barboux and the Indian lifted and 
dropped the body overboard. 

But John a Cleeve slept on ; and still 
northward through the night, down the long 
reaches of the lake, the canoe held her way. 



i CHAPTER V 

CONTAINS THE APOLOGUE OF 
MANABOZHO'S TOE 

THEY had threaded their course through 
the many islets at the foot of the lake, 
and were speeding down the headwaters of 
the Richelieu. The forests had closed in upon 
them, shutting out the mountains. The con- 
voy — officered for the most part by Canadian 
militiamen with but a sprinkling of regulars 
such as Sergeant Barboux — soon began to 
straggle. The prisoners were to be delivered 
at Montreal. Montcalm had despatched 
them thither, on short rations, for the simple 
reason that Fort Carillon held scarcely food 
enough to support his own army ; but he 
could detach very few of his efficients for 
escort, and, for the rest, it did not certainly 
appear who was in command. Barboux, for 
example, was frankly insubordinate, and de- 
clared a dozen times a day that it did not 
become gentlemen of the Beam and Royal 
Roussillon to take their orders from any 

SI 



52 FORT AMITY 

coureur de bois who might choose to call 
himself Major. 

Consequently the convoy soon straggled 
at will, the boatmen labouring if the fancy 
took them, or resting their paddles across 
their thighs and letting their canoes drift on 
the current. Now and again they met a 
train of batteaux labouring up with reinforce- 
ments, that had heard of the victory from the 
leading boats and hurrahed as they passed, 
or shouted questions which Barboux an- 
swered as a conscious hero of the fight and 
with no false modesty. But for hour after 
hour John lived alone with his own boat's 
company and the interminable procession of 
the woods. 

They descended to the river, these woods, 
and overhung it — each bank a mute monot- 
onous screen of foliage, unbroken by glade 
or clearing; pine and spruce and hemlock, 
maple and alder ; piled plumes of green, 
motionless, brooding, through which no sun- 
rays broke, though here and there a silver 
birch drew a shaft of light upon their sombre 
background. Here were no English wood- 
lands, no stretches of pale green turf, no 
vistas opening beneath flattened boughs, 
with blue distant hills and perhaps a group 
of antlers topping the bracken. The wild 
life of these forests crawled among thickets 



APOLOGUE OF MANABOZHO'S TOE 53 

or lurked in sinister shadows. No bird 
poured out its heart in them ; no lark soared 
out of them, breasting heaven. At rare in- 
tervals a note fell on the ear — the scream of 
hawk or eagle, the bitter cackling laugh of 
blue jay or woodpecker, the loon's ghostly 
cry — solitary notes, and unhappy, as though 
wrung by pain out of the choking silence ; 
or away on the hillside a grouse began drum- 
ming, or a duck went whirring down the 
long waterway until the sound sank and was 
overtaken again by the river's slow murmur. 

When night had hushed down these noises, 
the forest would be silent for an hour or two, 
and then awake more horribly with the howl- 
ing of wolves. John slept little of nights; not 
on account of the wolves, but because the 
mosquitoes allowed him no peace. (They 
were torture to a wounded man ; but he de- 
clared afterwards that they cured his wounded 
arm willynilly, for they forced him to keep it 
active under pain of being eaten alive.) By 
day he dozed, lulled by the eternal woods, 
the eternal dazzle on the water, the eternal 
mutter of the flood, the paddle-strokes, M. le 
Chameau's singing. 

They were now six in the canoe — the ser- 
geant, le Chameau, the two Indians, John 
a Cleeve and the elder Highlander, Corporal 
Hug-h McQuarters. 



54 FORT AMITY 

By this time — that is to say, having seen 
him — John understood the meaning" of M. 
le Chameau's queer name. He was a hunch- 
back, but a gay Httle man nevertheless ; 
reputedly a genius in the art of shooting 
rapids. He was also a demon to work, 
when allowed; but the sergeant would not 
allow him. 

It suited the sergeant's humour to lag 
behind the other boats by way of asserting 
his dignity and proving that he, Barboux, 
held himself at no trumpery colonial's beck 
and call. Also he had begun to nurse a 
scheme ; as will appear by-and-by. 

At present .it amused him to order the 
canoe to shore for an hour or two in the heat 
of the day, lend his bayonet to the Indians, 
and watch, smoking, while they searched the 
banks and dug out musquashes. These they 
cooked and ate; which Barboux asserted 
to be good economy, since provisions were 
running short. It occurred to John that 
this might be a still better reason for hurry- 
ing forward, but he was grateful for the 
siesta under the boughs while the Indians 
worked. They were Ojibways both, the 
elder by name Menehwehna and the younger 
(a handsome fellow with a wonderful gift of 
silence) Muskingon. 

Since that one stealthy act of kindness 



APOLOGUE OF MANABOZHO'S TOE 55 

Menehwehna had given no sign of cordiality. 
John had tried a score of times to catch his 
eye, and had caught it once or twice, but 
only to find the man inscrutable. Yet he 
was by no means taciturn ; but seemed, as 
his war-paint of soot and vermilion wore 
thinner, to thaw into what (for an Indian) 
might pass for geniality. After a successful 
rat-hunt he would even grow loquacious, 
seating himself on the bank and jabbering 
while he skinned his spoils, using for the 
most part a jargon of broken French (in 
which he was fluent) and native words of 
which Barboux understood very few and 
John none at all. When he fell back on 
Ojibway pure and simple, it was to address 
Muskingon, who answered in monosyllables, 
and was sparing of these. Muskingon and 
McQuarters were the silent men of the party 
— the latter by force as well as choice, since 
he knew no French and in English could 
only converse with John. He and Muskin- 
gon had this further in common — they both 
detested the sergeant. 

John, for his part, had patched up a peace 
with the man, after this fashion : On the 
second day Barboux had called upon le 
Chameau for a song ; and, the little hunch- 
back having given ''En roulant ma boule," 
demanded another. 



56 FORT AMITY 

"But it is monsieur's turn, who has a 
charming voice," suggested le Chameau 
politely. 

" It has the misfortune to grate on the 
ears of our English milord," Barboux 
answered with an angry flush, stealing a 
malevolent glance, at John. "And I do not 
sing to please myself." 

John doubted this ; but being by nature 
quick to forgive and repent a quarrel, he 
answered with some grace: "I was annoyed. 
Sergeant Barboux, and said what I thought 
would hurt rather than what was just. You 
possess, indeed, a charming voice, and I 
regret to have insulted it." 

"You mean it?" asked Barboux, still red 
in the face, but patently delighted. 

"So entirely that I shall not pardon my- 
self until you have done us the favour to 
sing." 

The sergeant held out his hand. "And 
that's very handsomely said ! Given or taken, 
an apology never goes astray between brave 
fellows. And, after all," he added, " I had, 
if I remember, something the better of that 
argument ! You really wish me to sing, 
then?" 

"To be sure I do," Jack assured him, 
smiling. 

Barboux cleared his throat, wagged his 



APOLOGUE OF MANABOZHO'S TOE 57 

head once or twice impassively and trolled 
out : 

'* Belle meuni^re, en passant par ici, 
Ne suis-je t'y pas eloig-nd d'ltalie. ..." 

From this graceful opening the song declined 
into the grossest filth ; and it was easy to 
see, watching his face, why McQuarters, 
without understanding a word of French, 
had accused him of singing '^sculduddery." 
John, though disgusted, could not help being 
amused by a performance which set him in 
mind now of a satyr and now of a mincing 
schoolgirl — vert galant avec uti soitrii'e de 
cantatrice — lasciviousness blowing affected 
kisses in the intervals of licking its chops. 
At the conclusion he complimented the 
singer, with a grave face. 

Barboux bowed. ''It has, to say true, a 
little more marrow in it than le Chameau's 
rossignols and rosier s. Hola, Chameau ; the 
Englishman here agrees that you sing well, 
but that your matter is watery stuff. You 
must let me teach you one or two of my 
songlets " 

" Pardon, m'sieur, mais ca sera un peu trop 
— trop vif ; c'est-a-dire pour moi," stammered 
the little hunchback. 

Barboux guffawed. The idea of le 
Chameau as a ladies' man tickled him 
hugely, and he tormented the patient fellow 



58 FORT AMITY 

with allusions to it, and to his deformity, 
twenty times a day. 

And yet the sergeant was not ill-natured — 
until you happened to cross him, when his 
temper became damnable — but merely a big", 
vain, boisterous lout. John, having taken 
his measure, found it easy to study him 
philosophically and even to be passably 
amused by him. But he made himself, it 
must be owned, an affliction ; and an afflic- 
tion against which, since the boats had 
parted company, there was no redress. He 
was conceited, selfish, tyrannical, and in- 
ordinately lazy. He never took a hand with 
the paddle, but would compel the others to 
work, or to idle, as the freak took him. He 
docked the crew's allowance but fed himself 
complacently on more than full rations, 
proving this to be his due by discourse on 
the innate superiority of Frenchmen over 
Canadians, Englishmen or Indians. He 
would sit by the hour bragging of his skill 
with the gun, his victories in love, his feats 
of strength — baring his chest, arms, legs, 
and inviting the company to admire his 
muscles. He jested from sunrise until sun- 
down, and never made a jest that did not 
hurt. Worst of all was it when he schooled 
le Chameau to sing his obscenities after him, 
line for line. 



APOLOGUE OF MANABOZHO'S TOE 59 

*'No, no, I beg you, monsieur," the little 
fellow would protest, ^'c'est — c'est sale ! " — 
and would blush like a girl. 

'^Sa/e, you dog? I'll teach you " A 

blow would follow. M. Barboux was getting 
liberal with his blows. Once he struck 
Muskingon. Menehwehna growled omin- 
ously, and the growl seemed to warn not 
only Barboux but Muskingon, who for the 
moment had looked murderous. 

John guessed that some tie, if not of blood- 
relationship, at least of strong affection, 
bound the two Indians together. 

For himself, as soon as his wound allowed 
him to sit upright, which it did on the second 
day — the bullet having glanced across his 
ribs and left but its ugly track in the thin 
flesh covering them — the monotony of the 
woods and the ceaseless glint of the water 
were a drug which he could summon at will 
and so withdraw himself within a stupor un- 
troubled by Barboux or his boastings. He 
suffered the man, but saw no necessity for 
heeding him. 

He had observed two or three hanks of 
fishing-line dangling from the thin strips of 
cedar which sheathed the canoe within, a 
little below the gunwale. They had hooks 
attached, and from the shape of these hooks 
he judged them to belong to the Indians. 



6o FORT AMITY 

He unhitched one of the lines, and more for 
the sake of kilUng time than for any set pur- 
pose, began to construct a gaudy salmon-fly 
with a few frayed threads of cloth from his 
tunic. After a minute or two he was aware 
of Muskingon watching him with interest, 
and by signs begged for a feather from the 
young Indian's top-knot. Muskingon drew 
one forth and, under instructions, plucked 
off a piece of fluff from the root of the 
feather, a small quill or two, and handed 
them over. With a length of red silk drawn 
from his sash John, within half an hour, was 
bending a very pretty fly on the hook. It 
did not in the least resemble any winged 
creature upon earth ; but it had a meretricious 
air about it, and even a ''killing" one when 
he finished up by binding its body tight with 
an inch of gilt thread from his collar. Mean- 
while, his ambition growing with success, he 
had cast his eyes about, to alight on a long 
jointed cane which the canoe carried as part 
of its appanage, to be lifted on cross-legs 
and serve as the ridge of an awning on wet 
nights. It was cumbrous, but flexible in 
some small degree. Muskingon dragged it 
within reach and sat watching while John 
whipped a loop to its end and ran the line 
through it. 

He had begun in pure idleness, but now 



APOLOGUE OF MANABOZHO'S TOE 6i 

the production of the rod had drawn every 
one's eyes. Barboux was watching him 
superciHously, and Menehwehna with grave 
attention, resting his paddle on his knees 
while the canoe drifted. Fish had been 
leaping throughout the afternoon — salmon 
by the look of them. John knew something 
of salmon ; he had played and landed many 
a fish out of the Dart above Totnes, and in 
his own river below Cleeve Court. The sun 
had dropped behind the woods, the water 
was not too clear, and in short it looked 
a likely hour for feeding. He lifted his 
clumsy rod in his right hand, steadied it 
with his injured left, and put all his skill 
into the cast. 

As he cast, the weight of his rod almost 
overbalanced him : a dart of pain came from 
his closing wound and he knew that he had 
been a fool and overtaxed his strength. But 
to his amazement a fish rose at once and 
gulped the fly down. He tossed the rod 
across to Muskingon, calling to him to draw 
it inboard and sit quite still ; and catching 
the line, tautened it and slackened it out 
slowly, feeling up to the loop in which (as 
was to be expected) it had kinked and was 
sticking fast. 

He had the line in both hands now, with 
Muskingon paying out the slack behind 



62 FORT AMITY 

him ; and if the hook held — the Hne had no 
gut — he felt confident of his fish. By the 
feel of him he was a salmon — or a black 
bass. John had heard of black bass and 
the sport they gave. A beauty, at any 
rate ! 

Yes, he was a salmon. Giving" on the 
line but never slackening it, though it cut 
his forefinger cruelly (his left being all but 
useless to check the friction), John worked 
him to the top of the water and so, by little 
and little, to the side of the canoe. But his 
own strength was giving out, faster now 
than the salmon's. His wound had parted ; 
and as he clenched his teeth he felt the line 
fraying. The fish would have been lost had 
not Muskingon, almost without shaking the 
canoe, dropped overboard, dived under and 
clenched both hands upon his struggles. 

It was Menehwehna who dragged the 
salmon across the gunwale ; for John had 
fainted. And when he recovered, Meneh- 
wehna was coolly gutting the monster — if a 
fish of eighteen pounds can be called a 
monster ; as surely he can when taken in 
such fashion. 

After this, John being out of action, Ser- 
jeant Barboux must take a turn with the 
rod. He did not (he protested) count on 
landing a fish ; but the hooking of one had 



APOLOGUE OF MANABOZHO'S TOE 63 

been so ridiculously prompt and easy that it 
was hard to see how he could fail. 

But he did. He flogged the water till 
nightfall, confidently at first though clum- 
sily, at length with the air of a Xerxes cast- 
ing chains into the flood ; but never a bite 
rewarded him. He gave over the rod in a 
huff, but began agairt at dawn, to lay it 
down after an hour and swear viciously. As 
he retired Muskingon took the pole ; he had 
watched John's one and only cast and began 
to imitate it patiently, while the sergeant 
jeered and the canoe drifted. Towards noon 
he felt a bite, struck, and missed ; but half 
an hour later he struck again and Meneh- 
wehna shouted and pointed as John's fly 
was sucked under in a noble swirl of water. 
Muskingon dragged back his rod and 
stretched out a hand for the line ; but 
Barboux had already run forward and 
clutched it, at the same moment roughly 
thrusting him down on his seat ; and then 
in a moment the mischief was done. The 
line parted, and the sergeant floundered 
back with a lurch that sent the canoe down 
to her gunwale. 

McQuarters laughed aloud and grimly. 
Menehwehna's dark eyes shone. Even John, 
though the lurch obliged him to fling out 
both hands to balance the boat, and the 



64 FORT AMITY 

sudden movement sent a dart of pain through 
his wound, could not hold back a smile. 
Barboux was furious. 

''Eh? So you are pleased to laugh at 
me, master Englishman ! Wait then, and 
we'll see who laughs last. And you, dog of 
an Indian, at what are you rubbing your 
hands?" 

"Your exploit, O illustrious warrior," 
answered Menehwehna with gravity, "set 
me in mind of Manabozho ; and when one 
thinks upon Manabozho it is permitted and 
even customary to rub the hands." 

"Who the devil was Manabozho?" 

" He was a very Great One — even another 
such Great One as yourself. It was he who 
made the earth once on a time, by accident. 
And another time he went fishing." 

" Have a care, Menehwehna. I bid you 
beware if you are poking fun at me." 

"I am telling of Manabozho. He went 
fishing in the lake and let down a line. 
'King Fish,' said he, 'take hold of my bait,' 
and he kept saying this until the King Fish 
felt annoyed and said, ' This Manabozho 
is a nuisance. Here, trout, take hold of his 
line.' The trout obeyed, and Manabozho 
shouted, ' Wa-i-he ! Wa-i-he ! I have him ! ' 
while the canoe rocked to and fro. But 
when he saw the trout he called, ' Esa, 



APOLOGUE OF MANABOZHO'S TOE 65 

esa ! Shame upon you, trout ; I fish for 
your betters.' So the trout let go; and 
again Manabozho sank his line, saying, ' O 
King Fish, take hold of my bait.' 'I shall 
lose my temper soon with this fellow,' said 
the King Fish ; ' here, sunfish, take hold of 
his line.' The sunfish did so, and Mana- 
bozho's canoe spun round and round ; but 
when he saw what he had caught, he cried 
out, * Esa, esa ! Shame upon you, sunfish ; 
I am come for your betters.' So the sunfish 
let go, and again Manabozho " 

*' Joli amphigouri ! " yawned the sergeant. 
" Pardon, M. Menehwehna, but this story of 
yours seems likely to last." 

**Not so, O chief; for this time the King 
Fish took the bait and swallowed Manabozho, 
canoe and all." 

John laughed aloud ; but enough sense 
remained in Barboux to cover his irritation. 
'*Well, that was the last of him, and the 
Lord be praised ! " 

"There is much more of the story," said 
Menehwehna, "and all full of instruction." 

"We will postpone it, anyhow. Take up 
your paddle, if you have not forgotten how 
to work." 

So Menehwehna and the hunchback pad- 
dled anew, while the great Barboux sat and 
sulked — a sufficiently childish figure. Night 



66 FORT AMITY 

fell, the canoe was brought to shore, and the 
Indians as usual lifted out the wounded men 
and laid them on beds of moss strewn with 
pine-boughs and cedar. While Menehwehna 
lit the camp fire, Muskingon prepared John's 
salmon for supper, and began to grill it deftly 
as soon as the smoke died down on a pile of 
clear embers. 

John sleepily watched these preparations, 
and was fairly dozing when he heard Barboux 
announce with an oath that for his impudence 
the dog of an Englishman should go without 
his share of the fish. The announcement 
scarcely awoke him — the revenge was so 
petty. Barboux in certain moods could be 
such a baby that John had ceased to regard 
him except as an object of silent mirth. So 
he smiled and answered sweetly that Sergeant 
Barboux was entirely welcome ; for himself 
a scrap of biscuit would suffice. And with 
that he closed his eyes again. 

But it seemed that, for some reason, the 
two Indians were angry, not to say outraged. 
By denying him his share Barboux had — no 
doubt ignorantly — broken some sacred law 
in the etiquette of hunting. Muskingon 
growled ; the firelight showed his lips drawn 
back, like a dog's, from his white teeth. 
Menehwehna remonstrated. Even le Cha- 
meau seemed to be perturbed. 



APOLOGUE OF MANABOZHO'S TOE 67 

Barboux, however, did not understand ; 
and as nobody would share in John's por- 
tion, ate it himself with relish amid an angry 
silence, which at length impressed him. 

'*Eh? What the devil's wrong with you 
all?" he demanded, looking about him. 

Menehwehna broke into a queer growl, 
and began to rub his hands. ''Manaboz- 
ho " he began. 

" Fichtre ! It appears we have not heard 
the end of him, then ? " 

*'It is usual," Menehwehna explained, 
*'to rub one's hands at the mention of 
Manabozho. In my tribe it is even neces- 
sary." 

''Farceur de Manabozho! the habit has 
not extended to mine," growled Barboux. 
'* Is this the same story ? " 

*'0 slayer of heads, it is an entirely 
different one." The sergeant winced, and 
John cast himself back on his leafy bed to 
smile up at the branches. Tueur de tetes 
may be a high compliment from an Indian 
warrior, but a vocalist may be excused for 
looking twice at it. 

*'This Manabozho," Menehwehna con- 
tinued tranquilly, "was so big and strong 
that he began to think himself everybody's 
master. One day he walked in the forest, 
cuffing the ears of the pine trees for sport, 



68 FORT AMITY 

and knocking them flat if they took it ill ; 
and at length he came on a clearing. In 
the clearing was a lodge, and in the lodge 
was no one but a small child, curled up 
asleep with its toe in its mouth. Manabozho 
gazed at the child for a long while, and said 
he, ' I have never seen any one before who 
could lie with his toe in his mouth. But I 
can do it, to be sure.' Whereupon he lay 
down in much the same posture as the child, 
and took his right foot in his hand. But it 
would not reach by a long way. ' How 
stupid I am,' cried Manabozho, * when it 
was the left foot all the time ! ' So he tried 
the left foot, but this also would not reach. 
He rolled on his back, and twisted and bent 
himself, and strained and struggled until the 
tears ran down his face. Then he sat up in 
despair ; and behold ! he had awakened the 
child, and the child was laughing at him. 
' Oh, oh ! ' cried Manabozho in a passion, 
' am I then to be mocked by a babe ! ' And 
with that he drew a great breath and blew 
the child away over the mountains, and after- 
wards walked across and across the lodge, 
trampling it down until not a trace of it 
remained. 'After all,' said Manabozho, 'I 
can do something. And I see nobody here- 
abouts to deny that I can put my toe in my 
mouth ! ' " 



APOLOGUE OF MANABOZHO'S TOE 69 

As Menehwehna concluded, John waited 
for an explosion of wrath. None came. He 
raised his head after a minute and looked 
about him. Barboux sat smoking and star- 
ing into the camp-fire. The Indian had laid 
himself down to slumber, with his blanket 
drawn up to his ears. 



CHAPTER VI 
BATEESE 

NEXT morning Barboux and Meneh- 
wehna held a long colloquy aft, but in 
tones so low that John could not catch a 
word. By-and-by Muskingon was called 
into council, and lastly le Chameau. 

The two Indians were arguing against 
some proposal of the sergeant's, which by 
the way they pointed and traced imaginary 
maps with their fingers, spreading their 
palms apart to indicate distances, plainly 
turned on a point of geography. Le Cham- 
eau's opinion seemed to settle the dispute in 
the sergeant's favour. Coming that after- 
noon to the mouth of a tributary stream on 
the left bank he headed the canoe for it with- 
out a word, and at once the paddles were 
busy, forcing her against the rapid current. 

Then followed days during which, though 
reason might prove that in the river he held 
an infallible clue, John's senses lost them- 
selves in the forest maze. It overlapped and 

70 



BATEESE 71 

closed upon him, folding him deeper and 
inimitably deeper. On the Richelieu he had 
played with thoughts of escape, noting how 
the canoe lagged behind its convoy, and 
speculating on the Indians' goodwill — faint 
speculations, since (without reckoning his 
own raw wound) McQuarters was almost too 
weak to stir as yet, and to abandon him 
would be. a scurvy trick. So he had put 
aside his unformed plans, which at the best 
had been little better than hopes ; and now 
the wilderness oppressed and smothered and 
buried them out of recollection. 

The voyageicrs made tedious progress ; for 
almost at once they came to a chain of rapids 
around which the canoe had to be ported. 
The Indians toiled steadily, and le Chameau 
too, stripped to the waist and sweating ; and 
by the end of the day each man carried a 
dark red weal on one shoulder, sunk in the 
flesh by the canoe's weight. John could 
walk, but was powerless to help, and 
McQuarters had to be lifted and carried 
with the baggage. Barboux confined him- 
self to swearing and jeering at le Chameau's 
naked back — diablc de torse, as he pro- 
claimed it. The man was getting past en- 
durance. 

On the second day he called a halt, left 
le Chameau in charge of the camp and the 



72 FORT AMITY 

prisoners, and went off with the Indians in 
search of a moose, whose lowing call had 
twice echoed through the woods during the 
night and been answered by Menehwehna 
on his birch-horn. The forest swallowed 
them, and a blessed relief fell on the camp — 
no more oaths and gibes for a while, but rest 
and green shade and the murmur of the 
rapids below. 

After the noon-day meal the hunchback 
stretched himself luxuriously and began to 
converse. He was explaining the situation 
with the help of three twigs, which he laid 
in the form of a triangle — two long sides and 
a short base. 

" Voyons, this long one will be the 
Richelieu and that other the St. Lawrence ; 
and here" — he put his finger near the base — 
*'here is Montreal. The sergeant knows 
what he is about. Those other boats, look 

you, will go around so ." He traced 

their course around the apex very slowly. 

''Whereas zue ! " A quick stroke of the 

finger across the base filled up the sentence, 
and the little man smiled triumphantly. 

''I see," said John, picking up the short 
twig and bending it into an arch, "we are 
now climbing up this side of the slope, eh ? 
And on the other there will likewise be a 
river f 



BATEESE 73 

The boatman nodded. "A hard way to 
find, m'sieur. But have no fear. I have 
travelled it." 

''Assuredly I have no fear with you, 
M. " 



''Guyon, m'sieur — Jean Bateese Guyon. 
This M. Barboux is a merry fellow — il ne 
peut pas se passer de ses enjouments. But 
I was not born like this." And here he 
touched his shoulder very simply and 
gravely. 

" It was an accident then, M. Guyon?" 

"An accident — oh, yes, be assured it was 
an accident." A flush showed on the little 
man's cheek, and his speech on a sudden be- 
came very rapid. "But as we were saying, 
I know the trail across yonder ; and my 
brother Dominique he knows it even better. 
I wish we may see Dominique, m'sieur ; 
there is no such voyagetir from Quebec up to 
Michilimackinac, aye or beyond ! He has 
been down the Cascades by night, himself 
only ; it was when I had my — -my accident, 
and he must go to fetch a surgeon. All 
along the river it is talked of yet. But it is 
nothing to boast of, for the hand of God 
must have been upon him. And as good as 
he is brave ! " 

"And where is your brother Dominique 
just now? " 



74 FORT AMITY 

'* He will be at home, m'sieur. Soon they 
will be carrying the harvest at Boisveyrac, 
and he is now the seigneur's farmer. He 
will be worrying himself over the harvest, 
for Dominique takes things to heart, both of 
this world and the next ; whereas — I am a 
good Catholic, I hope — but these things do 
not trouble me. It seems there is no time to 
be troubled." Bateese looked up shyly, with 
a blush like a girl's. " M'sieur may be able 
to tell me — or, maybe, he will think it foolish. 
This love of women, now?" 

''Proceed, M. Guyon." 

" Ah, you believe in it ! When the sergeant 
begins his talk — c'est bien sale, is it not? 
But that is not the sort I mean. Well, Dom- 
inique is in love, and it brings him no happi- 
ness. He can never have what he wants, nor 
would it be right, and he knows it; but 
nevertheless he goes on craving for it and 
takes no pleasure in life for the want of it. I 
look at him, wondering. Then I say to my- 
self, 'Bateese, when le bon Dieu broke you in 
pieces He was not unkind. Your heart is 
cracked and cannot hold love, like your 
brother's ; but what of that, while God is 
pouring love into it all day long and never 
ceases? You are ugly, and no maid will ever 
want you for a husband ; therefore you are 
lucky who cannot store away desire for this 



BATEESE 75 

or that one, like poor Dominique, who goes 
about aching and fit to burst. You go sing- 
ing A la claii'e fontaine, which is full of un- 
happiness and longing, but all the while you 
are happy enough.' Indeed, that is the truth, 
monsieur. I study this love of Dominique's, 
which makes him miserable ; but I cannot 
judge it. I see that it brings pain to 
men." 

'' But delight also, my friend." 

'*And delight also — that is understood. 
M'sieur is, perhaps, in love ? Or has been ? " 

'^No, Bateese; not yet." 

'' But you will ; with that face it is certain. 
Now shall I tell you ? — to my guessing this 
love of women is like an untried rapid. Some- 
thing smiles ahead for you, and you push for 
it and voyez ! in a moment down you go, 
fifteen miles an hour and the world spinning ; 
and at the bottom of the fall, if the woman be 
good, sweet is the journey and you wonder, 
looking back from smooth water, down what 
shelves you were swept to her. That, I say, 
is what I suppose this love to be ; but for my- 
self I shall never try it. Since le bon Dieu 
broke the pitcher its pieces are scattered 
all over me, within ; they hold nothing, 
but there they lie shining in their useless 
fashion." 

"Not useless, perhaps, Bateese." 



76 FORT AMITY 

*'In their useless fashion," he persisted. 
"They will smile and be gay at the sight of 
a pretty girl, or at the wild creatures in the 
woods yonder, or at the thoughts in a song, 
or for no better reason than that the day is 
bright and the air warm. But they can 
store nothing. It is the same with religion, 
monsieur, and with affairs of State ; neither 
troubles my head. Dominique is devout, for 
example ; and Father Launoy comes to talk 
with him, which makes him gloomy. The 
reverend Father just hears my sins and lets 
me go; he knows well enough that Bateese 
does not count. And then he and Dominique 
sit and talk politics by the hour. The Father 
declares that all the English are devils, and 
that any one who fights for the Holy Church 
and is killed by them will rise again the third 
day." 

John laughed aloud this time. 

'* I too think the reverend Father must be 
making some mistake," said Bateese gravely. 
'^ No doubt he has been misinformed." 

" No doubt. For suppose now that I were 
a devil?" 

'*Oh, m'sieur," Bateese expostulated. *'Oz 
sc7'ait bien dommage ! But I hope, in any 
case, God would pardon me for talking with 
you, seeing that to contain anything, even 
hatred, is beyond me." 



BATEESE 77 

''Shall I tell you what I think, Bateese ? 
I think we are all pitchers and perhaps made 
to be broken. Ten days ago I was brimful 
of ambitions ; some one — le bon Dieu, or 
General Abercromby — has toppled me over 
and spilt them all ; and here I lie on my 
side, not broken, but full of emptiness." 

'' Heh, heh — 'full of emptiness'!" chuckled 
Bateese, to whom the phrase was new. 

" It may be that in time some one will set 
me up again and pour into me wine of 
another sort. I hope for this, because it is 
painful to lie upset and empty ; and I do not 
wish to be broken, for that must be even 
more painful — at the time, eh ? " 

Bateese glanced up, with a twitch of re- 
membered pain. 

"Indeed, m'sieur, it hurt — at the time." 

" But afterwards — when the pieces have 
no more trouble, being released from pride — 
the pride of being a pitcher ! Is it useless 
they are as they lie upturned, reflecting — 
what? My friend, if we only knew this we 
might discover that now, when it can no 
longer store up wine for itself, the pitcher is 
at last serving an end it was made for." 

The little hunchback glanced up again 
quickly. "You are talking for my sake, 
monsieur, not for yourself. At your age I 
too could be melancholy for amusement. 



78 FORT AMITY 

Ah, pardon," for John had blushed hotly. 
"Do I not know why you said it? Am I 
not grateful? " 

He held out his hand. His eyes were 
shining. 



CHAPTER VII 
THE WATCHER IN THE PASS 

THENCEFORWARD, as the forest 
folded them deeper, John found a won- 
derful solace in Bateese's company, although 
the two seldom exchanged a word unless 
alone together, and after a day or two Bar- 
boux took a whim to carry off the little boat- 
man on his expeditions and leave Muskingon 
in charge of the camp. He pretended that 
John, as he mended of his wound, needed 
a stalwart fellow for sentry ; but the real 
reason was malice. For some reason he 
hated Muskingon ; and knowing Muskin- 
gon 's delight in every form of the chase, 
carefully thwarted it. On the other hand, 
it was fun to drag off Bateese, who loved to 
sit by his boat and hated the killing of 
animals. 

"If I give him my parole," suggested 
John, '*he will have no excuse, and Muskin- 
gon can go in your place." 

But to this Bateese would not listen. So 

79 



8o FORT AMITY 

the wounded were left, on hunting days, in 
Muskingon's charge ; and with him, too, 
John contrived to make friends. The young 
Indian had a marvellous gift of silence, and 
would sit brooding for hours. Perhaps he 
nursed his hatred of Barboux ; perhaps he 
distrusted the journey — for he and Meneh- 
wehna, Ojibways both, were hundreds of 
miles from their own country, which lay at 
the back of Lake Huron. Now and again, 
however, he would unbend and teach John 
a few words of the Ojibway language ; or 
would allow him, as a fellow-sportsman, to 
sit by the water's edge and study the Indian 
tricks of fishing. 

There was one in particular which fairly 
amazed John. He had crawled after Musk- 
ingon on his belly — though not understand- 
ing the need of this caution — to the edge 
of a rock overhanging a deep pool. The 
Indian peered over, unloosed his waist-belt, 
and drew off his scarlet breeches as if for a 
bathe. But no, he did not intend this — at 
least, not just yet. He wound the breeches 
about his right arm and dipped it cautiously, 
bending over the ledge until his whole body 
from the waist overhung the water, and it 
was a wonder how his thighs kept their grip. 
Then, in a moment, up flew his heels and 
over he soused. John, peering down as the 



THE WATCHER IN THE PASS 8i 

swirl cleared, saw only a red-brown back 
heaving below ; and as the seconds dragged 
by, and the back appeared to heave more 
and more faintly, was plucking off his own 
clothes to dive and rescue Muskingon from 
the rocks, when a pair of hands shot up, 
holding aloft an enormous, bleeding cat-fish, 
and hitched him deftly on the gaff which 
John hurried to lower. But the fish had 
scarcely a kick left in him, Muskingon 
having smashed his head against the crevices 
of the rock. 

Indeed Barboux had this excuse for 
leaving Muskingon in camp by the river — 
that there was always a string of fish ready 
before nightfall when he and Menehwehna 
returned. John, stupefied through the day- 
light hours, always seemed to awake with 
the lighting of the camp-fire. This at any 
rate was the one scene he afterwards saw 
most clearly, in health and in the delirium 
of fever — the fire ; the ring of faces ; beyond 
the faces a sapling strung with fish like short 
broad-swords reflecting the flames' glint ; a 
stouter sapling laid across two forked boughs, 
and from it a dead deer suspended, with 
white filmed eyes, and the firelight warm on 
its dun flank ; behind, the black deep of the 
forest, sounded, if at all, by the cry of a 
lonely wolf. These sights he recalled, with 



82 FORT AMITY 

the scent of green fir burning and the smart 
of it on his lashes. 

But by day he went with senses lulled, 
having forgotten all desire of escape or 
return. These five companions were all his 
world. Was he a prisoner? Was Barboux 
his enemy ? The words had no meaning. 
They were all in the same boat, and ' ' France " 
and " England " had become idle names. If 
he considered Barboux's gun, it was as a 
provider of game, or a protector against any 
possible foe from the woods. But the woods 
kept their sinister silence. 

Once, indeed, at the head of a portage 
they came upon a still reach of water with a 
strip of clearing on its farther bank — bois 
bride Bateese called it ; but the fire, due to 
lightning no doubt, must have happened 
many years before, for spruces of fair growth 
rose behind the alders on the swampy shore, 
and tall wickup plants and tussocks of the 
blueberry choked the interspaces. A cool 
breeze blew down the waterway, as through 
a funnel, from the uplands ahead, and the 
falls below sang deafeningly in the voyageiirs' 
ears as they launched their boat. 

Suddenly Menehwehna touched Barboux 
by the elbow. His ear had caught the 
crackling of a twig amid the uproar. John, 
glancing up as the sergeant lifted his piece, 



THE WATCHER IN THE PASS 83 

spied the antlers of a bull-moose spreading 
above an alder-clump across the stream. 
The tall brute had come down through the 
bois bruleto drink, or to browse on the young 
spruce-buds, which there grew tenderer than 
in the thick forest ; and for a moment moose 
and men gazed full at each other in equal 
astonishment. 

Barboux would have fired at once had not 
Menehwehna checked him with a few rapid 
words. With a snort of disgust the moose 
turned slowly, presenting his flank, and 
crashed away through the undergrowth as 
the shot rang after him. Bateese and Mus- 
kingon had the canoe launched in a second, 
and the whole party clambered in and pad- 
dled across. But before they reached the 
bank the beast's hoofs could be heard drum- 
ming away on the ridge beyond the swamp 
and the branches snapping as he parted 
them. 

Barboux cursed his luck. The two Indians 
maintained that the moose had been hit. At 
length Muskingon, who had crossed the 
swamp, found a splash of blood among the 
mosses, and again another on the leaves of a 
wickup plant a rod or two farther on the 
trail. The sergeant, hurrying to inspect 
these traces, plunged into liquid mud up to 
his knees, and was dragged out in the worst 



84 FORT AMITY 

of tempers by John, who had chosen to 
follow without leave. Bateese and McQuar- 
ters remained with the canoe. 

Each in his own fashion, then, the trackers 
crossed the swamp, and soon were hunting- 
among- a network of moose-trails, which 
criss-crossed one another through the burnt 
wood. John, aware of his incompetence, 
contented himself with watching the Indians 
as they picked up a new trail, followed it for 
a while, then patiently harked back to the 
last spot of blood and worked off on a new 
line. Barboux had theories of his own, 
which they received with a galling silence. 
It galled him at length to fury, and he was 
lashing them with curses which made John 
wonder at their forbearance, when a call 
from the river silenced him. 

It came from Bateese. Bateese, who cared 
nothing for sport, had paddled up stream to 
inspect the next reach of the river, and 
there, at the first ford, had found the moose 
lying dead and warm, with the ripple running 
over his flank and his gigantic horns high 
out of the water like a snag. 

From oaths Barboux now turned inconti- 
nently to boasting. This was his first moose, 
but he — he, Joachim Barboux, was a sports- 
man from his birth. He still contended, but 
complacently and without rancour, that had 



THE WATCHER IN THE PASS 85 

the Indians taken up the trail he had advised 
from the first it would have led them straight 
to the ford. They heard him and went on 
skinning the moose, standing knee deep in 
the bloody water, for the body was too 
heavy to be dragged ashore without infinite 
labour. Menehwehna found and handed 
him the bullet, which had glanced across 
and under the shoulder-blade, and flattened 
itself against one of the ribs on the other 
side. Barboux pocketed it in high good 
humour; and when their work was done — an 
ugly work, from which Bateese kept his eyes 
averted — a steak or two cut out, with the 
tongue, and the carcase left behind to rot 
in the stream — he praised them for brave 
fellows. They listened as indifferently as 
they had listened to his revilings. 

This shot which slew the moose was the 
last fired on the upward journey. They had 
followed the stream up to the hill ridges, 
where rapid succeeded rapid ; and two days 
of all but incessant portage brought them 
out above the forest, close beneath the naked 
ridges where but a few pines straggled. 

Bateese pointed out a path by following 
which, as he promised, they would find a 
river to carry them down into the St. Law- 
rence. He unfolded a scheme. There were 
trees beside that farther stream — elm trees. 



86 FORT AMITY 

for example — blown down and needing only 
to be stripped ; his own eyes had seen 
them. Portage up and over the ridge would 
be back-breaking work. Let the canoe, 
therefore, be abandoned — hidden somewhere 
by the head waters — and let the Indians 
hurry ahead and rig up a light craft to carry 
the party down stream. They had axes to 
strip the bark and thongs to close it at bow 
and stern. What more was needed ? As 
for the loss of his canoe, he understood the 
sergeant's to be State business, requiring 
despatch ; and if so, M. the Intendant at 
Montreal would recompense him. Nay, he 
himself might be travelling back this way 
before long, and then how handy to pick up 
a canoe on this side of the hills ! 

The sergeant d7'avo-ed and clapped the 
little man on his back, drawing tears of pain. 
The canoe was hauled up and stowed in a 
damp corner of the undergrowth under a mat 
of pine-branches, well screened from the 
sun's rays, and the travellers began to trudge 
on foot, in two divisions. The Indians led, 
with John and Barboux, the latter being 
minded to survey the country with them from 
the top of the 'ridge and afterwards allow 
them to push on alone. He took John to 
keep him company after their departure, and 
because the two prisoners could not well be 



THE WATCHER IN THE PASS 87 

left in charge of Bateese, who besides had 
his hands full with the baggage. So Bateese 
and McQuarters toiled behind, the little man 
grunting and shifting his load from time to 
time with a glance to assure himself that 
McQuarters was holding out ; now and then 
slackening the pace, but still, as he plodded, 
measuring the slopes ahead with his eye, 
comparing progress with the sun's march, 
and timing himself to reach the ridge at 
nightfall. Barboux had proposed to camp 
there, on the summit. The Indians were to 
push forward through the darkness. 

Meanwhile John stepped ahead with Bar- 
boux and the Indians. His spirits rose as 
he climbed above the forest ; the shadow 
which had lain on them slipped away and 
melted in the clear air. Here and there he 
stumbled, his knees reminding him suddenly 
of his weakness ; but health was coming 
back to him, and he drank in long pure 
draughts of it. It was good, after all, to be 
alive and young. A sudden throbbing in 
the air brought him to a halt ; it came from 
a tiny humming-bird poising itself over a 
bush-tufted rock on his right. As it sang 
on, careless of his presence, 'John watched 
the music bubbling and trembling within its 
flame-coloured throat. He, too, felt ready 
to sing for no other reason than pure delight. 



88 FORT AMITY 

He understood the ancient gods and their 
laughter ; he smiled down with them upon 
the fret of the world and mortal fate. Father 
Jove, opthmis 7naximuSy was a grand fellow, 
a good Catholic in spite of misconception, 
and certainly immortal ; god and gentleman 
both, large, lusty, superlative, tolerant, 
debonair. As for misconception, from this 
height Father Jove could overlook centuries 
of it at ease — the Middle Ages, for instance. 
Every one had been more or less cracked in 
the Middle Ages — cracked as fiddles. Likely 
enough Jove had made the Middle Ages, to 
amuse himself. . . . 

As the climb lulled his brain, John played 
with these idle fancies. Barboux, being out 
of condition and scant of breath, conversed 
very little. The Indians kept silence as 
usual. 

The sun was dropping behind the cleft of 
the pass as they reached it, and the rocky 
walls opened in the haze of its yellow beams. 
So once more John came to the gate of a 
new w^orld. 

Menehwehna led, Barboux followed, with 
John close behind, and Muskingon bringing 
up the rear. They were treading the actual 
pass, and Menehwehna, rounding an angle 
of the cliff, had been lost to sight for a 
moment, when John heard a low guttural cry 



THE WATCHER IN THE PASS 89 

— whether of surprise or warning he could 
not tell. 

He ran forward at Barboux's heels. A 
dozen paces ahead of the Indian, reclining 
against the rock-face on a heap of screcy in 
the very issue of the pass, with leagues of 
sunlight beyond him and the basin of the 
plain at his feet, sat a man. 

He did not move ; and at first this puzzled 
them, for he lay dark against the sun, and 
its rays shone in their eyes. 

But Menehwehna stepped close up to him 
and pointed. Then they saw, and under- 
stood. 

The man was dead ; dead and scalped — a 
horrible sight. 



CHAPTER VIII 
THE FARTHER SLOPE 

BARBOUX'S complexion had turned to 
a sick yellow beneath its mottles. He 
had been walking hard and was out of condi- 
tion ; no doubt, too, the sunset light painted 
his colour deeper. But the man fairly 
twittered. 

Menehwehna muttered an Indian name. 

'* Eh ? Speak low, for the love of God ! " 
The sergeant swept the cliffs above and 
around with a shuddering glance. 

" Les Agniers, as you call them — but 
Iroquois for certain. The man, you see, is 

Canayen " Menehwehna began coolly 

to handle the corpse. '* He has been dead 
for hours, but not many hours." He 
lifted an arm and let it fall, after trying 
the rigidity of the muscles. ^'Not many 
hours," he repeated, and signed to Mus- 
kingon, who began to crawl forward and, 
from the gap of the pass, to reconnoitre the 
slope below. 

90 



THE FARTHER SLOPE gi 

** And in the interval they have been track- 
ing usy belike ? " 

''They may, indeed, have spied us coming 
from the cliffs above," answered Menehwehna 
unperturbed. '* If so, they are watching us 
at this moment, and there is no escaping ; 
but this we shall learn within twenty paces, 
since between the rocks here they have us at 
their will. You, O illustrious, they might 
suffer to promenade yourself for a while in 
the open, for the sake of better sport ; with 
us, who are Ojibways, they would deal while 
yet they could be sure." 

He said it without any show of vanity, nor 
did he trouble himself to glance around or 
above for signs of the foe. ''We had best 
make trial of this without delay," he added ; 
"for if they fire the noise may reach the 
other two and warn Bateese, who is clever 
and may yet save himself." 

"What the devil care I for Bateese?" 
snarled Barboux. "If they have tracked us, 
they have tracked all. I run no risks for a 
bossti and a useless prisoner." 

" I did not say that they have tracked us. 
Him they tracked beyond a doubt ; and at 
the end he knew they were after him. 

See " Again he lifted the arm of the 

corpse, and invited the sergeant to feel its 
shirt along the ribs and under the armpits. 



92 FORT AMITY 

''See you how stiff it is ; that is where the 
sweat has dried, and men sweat so when 
they are in a great hurry. Perhaps he was 
the last of his company, and they overtook 
him here. Now, see again — I tell you they 
have not been tracking us, and I will prove 
it. In the first place I am no fool, and if one 
— two — three men have tracked me close (it 
cannot be far) a day long without my know- 
ing, it will be the first time in Menehwehna's 
life. But let that pass. See these marks ; 
they overtook him here, and they did with 
him — so. But where is any mark on the 
path behind us ? Look well ; there is only 
one path and no trail in it at all, else I had 
not cried out as I did. No man has passed 
within less time then it takes the moss to 
grow. Very good ; then whoever killed him 
followed him up from yonder, and here 
stopped and turned back — I think, in a hurry. 
To place the body so — that is an Iroquois 
trick when few and in a hurry ; otherwise 
they take him away and do worse." 

"Iroquois? But que diable ! The Six 
Nations are at peace with us ! Why on earth 
should the Iroquois meddle with this man, 
by the dress of him a coiiretir de bois ? " 

''And unarmed, too!" pursued Meneh- 
wehna with fine irony, "since they have 
taken away his gun. Ask me riddles that 



THE FARTHER SLOPE 93 

I can read. The Six Nations are never at 
peace ; there were five hundred of them back 
at Ticonderoga, seated on a hill opposite 
and only waiting. Yes, and in peace they 
have never less reasons than fingers and toes 
for killing a man. Your questions are for a 
child ; but / say that the Iroquois have been 
here and killed this man, and in a hurry. 
Now answer me ; if, after killing him, they 
wished to spy down upon our coming, and 
were in a hurry, why did they not take the 
short way through the pass ? " 

'^ That is simple. Any fresh track of men 
at the entrance, or close within it, would 
warn us back ; therefore they would say, 
*Let us climb to the ridge and watch, though 
it take longer.' " 

**Good ; now you talk with a clear head, 
and I have less fear for you. They may be 
aloft there, as you say, having drawn us into 
their trap. Yet I do not think it, for why 
should they be expecting us? It is now two 
days since you killed the moose. They could 
not have been near in a body to hear that 
shot fired, for it is hours since they overtook 
this man, following him up from the other 
slope. But a scout might have heard it and 
climbed across to warn them ; yes, that is 
possible." 

But here Muskingon came crawling back. 



94 FORT AMITY 

He had inspected the ground by the lip of 
the descent, and in his belief the dead man's 
pursuers were three or four at the most, and 
had hurried down the hill again when their 
work was done. 

Menehwehna nodded gravely. "It is as I 
thought, and for the moment we need not 
fear ; but we cannot spend the night in this 
trap — for trap it is, whether watched or not. 
Do we go forward then, or back ? " 

Barboux cursed. " How in the name of 
twenty devils can I go back ! Back to the 
Richelieu ? — it would be wasting weeks ! " 
His hand went up to his breast, then he 
seemed to recollect himself and turned upon 
John roughly. ''Step back, you, and find 
if the others are in sight. We, here, have 
private matters to discuss." 

John obeyed. The first turn of the cliff 
shut off the warm westerly glow, and he 
went back through twilight. He knew now 
why Barboux had lagged behind on the 
Richelieu, in scorn of discipline. The man 
must be entrusted with some secret missive 
of Montcalm's, and, being puffed up with it, 
had in a luckless hour struck out a line of 
his own. To turn back now would mean his 
ruin ; might end in his standing up to be 
shot with his back to a wall. . . . 

Between the narrow walls of the pass night 



THE FARTHER SLOPE 95 

was closing down rapidly. John lifted his 
face towards the strip of sky aloft, greenish- 
blue and tranquil. . . . 

He fell back — his heart, after one leap, 
freezing — slowly freezing to a standstill ; his 
hands spreading themselves against the face 
of the rock. 

What voice was that, screaming? . . . 
one — two — three — horrible human screams, 
rending the twilight, beating down on his 
ears, echoing from wall to wall. . . . 

The third and last scream died out in a 
low, bubbling wail. Close upon it rose a 
sound which John could not mistake — the 
whoop of Indians. He plucked his hands 
from the rock, and ran ; but, as he turned to 
run, in the sudden silence a body thudded 
down upon the path behind him. 

In twenty strides he was back again at the 
issue of the pass. The two Indians had 
vanished. Barboux's gross body alone 
blocked the pale daylight there. Barboux 
lingered a moment, stooping over the mur- 
dered man ; but he too ran at the sound of 
John's footsteps, and the corpse, as John 
came abreast of it, slid over in a silly heap, 
almost rolling against his legs. 

He leaped aside and cleared it, and in a 
moment was pelting down the slope after 
the sergeant, who flung back an agonised 



96 FORT AMITY 

doubtful g-lance, and recognising his pursuer 
grunted with relief. At their feet, and far 
below, spread a wide plain — a sea of forest 
rolling, wave upon wave, with a gleam of 
water between. The river, then — Bateese's 
river — was near at hand. 

Fifty yards down the slope, which was 
bare of cover, he saw the two Indians. 
Muskingon led by a few strides, and the 
pair seemed to be moving noiselessly ; yet, 
by the play of their shoulders, both were 
running for their lives. John raced past the 
lumbering sergeant and put forth all his 
strength to catch up with Menehwehna. 
The descent jarred his knees horribly, and 
still, as he plunged deeper into the shadow 
of the plain, the stones and bushes beneath 
his feet grew dimmer and the pitfalls harder 
to avoid. His ears were straining for the 
Indian war-whoop behind him ; he wondered 
more and more as the seconds grew into 
minutes and yet brought no sounds but the 
trickle and slidq^ of stones dislodged by 
Barboux thundering in the rear. 

They were close upon the outskirts of the 
forest. He had caught up with Menehwehna 
and was running at his heels, stride for 
stride. 

In the first dark shadow of the trees 
Menehwehna checked himself, came to a 



THE FARTHER SLOPE 97 

sudden halt, and swung round, panting. 
Somehow, although unable to see his face, 
John knew him to be furiously angry — with 
the cold fury of an Indian. 

" Englishman, you are a fool ! " 

*'But why?" panted John innocently. 
''Is it the noise I made? I cannot run as 
you Indians can." 

Menehw^ehna grunted. "What matters 
noise more or less, when he is anywhere 
near?" 

**They have not seen us!" gasped Bar- 
boux, blundering up at this moment and 
almost into John's arms. 

"To be sure," answered Menehwehna 
sardonically, "they have not seen us. It 
may even be that the great Manitou 
has smitten them with deafness and they 
have not heard you, O illustrious ! — and 
with blindness, that they cannot trace your 
footmarks ; yes, and perchance with folly, 
too, so that, returning to a dead man whom 
they left, they may wonder not at all that he 
has tumbled himself about ! " 

*'*■ Peste ! It was this Englishman's fault. 
He came running behind and hurried me. 
But you Indians do not know everything. 
I found " but here Barboux checked him- 
self on the edge of a boast. 

The Indian had sunk on one knee and laid 



98 FORT AMITY 

his ear to the ground. '* It will be of great 
price," said he, ''if what you found will take 
us out of this. They are not following as 
yet, and the water is near." 



CHAPTER IX 
MENEHWEHNA SETTLES ACCOUNTS 

WEARY as they were, there could be 
no thought of halting. The river 
and the plain lay far below them yet, and 
they must push on through the darkness. 

Hitherto the forest had awed John by its 
loneliness ; its night-voices, falling at rare 
intervals on his ear and awaking him from 
dreams beside the camp-fire, had seemed to 
cry and challenge across immense distances as 
though the very beasts were far astray. But 
now, as he crouched behind Menehwehna, 
he felt it to be no less awfully inhabited. A 
thousand creeping things stirred or slunk 
away through the undergrowth ; roosting 
birds edged towards one another in the 
branches, ever on the point of flapping off 
in panic ; the thickets were warm from the 
flanks of moose and deer. And all this wild 
life, withdrawing, watched the four fugitives 
w^ith a thousand eyes. 

These imaginary terrors did him one 

99 



loo FORT AMITY 

service. They kept him awake. By-and-by 
his brain began to work clearly, as it often 
will when the body has passed a certain 
point of fatigue. '* If these Indians on the 
ridge are Iroquois, why should I run ? The 
Iroquois are friends of England, and would 
recognise my red coat. The man they killed 
was a Canadian, a cotweur de bois; they will 
kill Barboux if they catch him, and also 
these two Ojibways. But to me capture will 
bring release." 

He understood now why Menehwehna had 
called him a fool. Nevertheless, as he went, 
the screams on the cliff rang in his ears 
again, closing the argument. 

Muskingon still led. He had struck a 
small mountain stream and was tracking it 
down towards the river — keeping wide of it 
to avoid the swampy ground, relying on his 
ears and the lie of the slope. Menehwehna 
followed close, ready to give counsel if 
needed ; but the young Indian held on in 
silence, never once hesitating. 

The debate in John's brain started afresh. 
''These Iroquois mean vie no harm. I am 
sure enough of that, at any rate, to face 
the risk of it. Barboux is my enemy — my 
country's enemy — and I dislike in him the 
little I don't despise. As for Menehwehna 
and Muskingon — they, I suppose, are my 



MENEHWEHNA SETTLES ACCOUNTS loi 

enemies, and the Iroquois my friends." 
Somehow John felt that when civiHsed 
nations employ uncivilised allies, the simplest 
questions of ethics may become complicated. 
He remembered a hundred small acts of 
kindness, of good-fellowship; and he re- 
called, all too vividly, the murdered man 
and his gory head. 

But might he not escape back and show 
himself without lessening his comrades' 
chances? It was a nuisance that he must 
always be thinking of them as comrades. 
Was he not their prisoner ? Would their 
comradeship help him at the end of the 
journey ? . . . 

The moon had risen over the hills when 
Muskingon's piloting brought them out once 
more under open sky, at a point where the 
mountain stream met and poured itself into 
a larger one hurrying down from the north- 
east. A few yards below their confluence 
the river - bed narrowed, and the waters, 
gathering speed, were swept down through 
a rocky chasm towards a cataract, the noise 
of which had been sounding in John's ears 
while he debated. 

Hitherto he had weighed the question as 
one between himself and his three com- 
panions. For the moment he saw no chance 
of giving them the slip ; and, if a chance 



I02 FORT AMITY 

occurred, the odds must be terribly unequal. 
Still, supposing that one occurred, ought he 
to take it ? Putting aside the insane risk, 
ought he to bring death — and such a death 
— down upon these three men, two of whom 
he looked upon as friends? Did his country, 
indeed, require this of him ? He wished he 
had his cousin Dick beside him for counsellor, 
or could borrow Dick's practical mind. Dick 
always saw clearly. 

And behold ! as he stepped out upon the 
river bank, his wish was given him. He 
remembered suddenly that this Barboux 
carried a message — of what importance he 
could not tell, nor was it for him to consider. 
Important or not, it must be to England's 
detriment, and as a soldier, he had no other 
duty than to baulk it. Why had he not 
thought of this before? It ruled out all 
private questions, even that of escape or of 
saving his own life. The report of a gun 
would certainly be heard on the ridge above ; 
and if, by forcing Barboux to shoot, he 
could draw down the Iroquois, why then — 
live or die — the signal must be given. 

He scanned the chasm. It could not 
measure less than twenty feet across, and 
the current whirled through it far below — 
thirty feet perhaps. He eyed his companions. 
Barboux leaned on his gun a few paces from 



MENEHWEHNA SETTLES ACCOUNTS 103 

the brink, where the two Indians stood peer- 
ing down at the dim waters. John dropped 
on one knee, pretending to fasten a button 
of his gaiters, and drew a long breath while 
he watched for his chance. 

Presently Muskingon straightened himself 
up and, as if satisfied with his inspection, 
began to lead the way again, slanting his 
course away from the bank and back towards 
the selvage of the woods. Menehwehna 
followed close, and Barboux shouldered his 
musket and fell into third place, grunting to 
John to hurry after. 

And so John did — for a dozen paces back 
from the river. Then, swinging quickly on 
his heel, he dashed for the brink, and leapt. 

So sudden was the manoeuvre that not until 
his feet left the rock— it seemed, at that very 
instant — did he hear the sergeant's oath of 
dismay. Even as he flew across the whirling 
darkness, his ear was listening for the shot to 
follow. 

The take-off — a flat slab of rock — was 
good, and the leap well timed. But he had 
allowed too little, perhaps, for his weariness 
and his recent wound ; and in the darkness 
he had not seen that of the two brinks the 
far one stood the higher by many inches. In 
mid-air he saw it, and flung his arms forward 
as he pitched against it little more than 



I04 FORT AMITY 

breast high. His fingers clutched vainly for 
hold, while his toes scraped the face of the 
rock, but found no crevice to support them. 

Had his body dropped a couple of inches 
lower before striking the bank, or had the 
ledge shelved a degree or two more steeply, 
or had it been smooth or slippery with rain, 
he must have fallen backward into the chasm. 
As it was, his weight rested so far forward 
upon his arms that, pressing his elbows down 
upon the rock, he heaved himself over on the 
right side of the balance, fell on his face and 
chest, and so wriggled forward until he could 
lift a knee. 

The roar of the waters drowned all other 
noise. Only that faint cry of Barboux had 
followed him across. But now, as he 
scrambled to his feet, he heard a sudden 
thud on the ledge behind him. A hand 
clutched at his heel, out of the night. At 
once he knew that his stratagem had failed, 
that Barboux would not fire, that Muskingon 
was upon him. He turned to get at grips ; 
but, in the act of turning, felt his brain open 
and close again with a flame and a crash, 
stretched out both arms, and pitched forward 
into darkness. 

• • • • • 

It seemed — for he knew no break in his 
sensations — that the ground, as he touched 



MENEHWEHNA SETTLES ACCOUNTS 105 

it, became strangely soft and elastic. For a 
while he wondered at this idly, then opened 
his eyes — but only to blink and close them 
again, for they were met by broad daylight. 

He was lying on the grass; he was resting 
in Muskingon's arms amid a roaring of 
many waters ; he was being carried between 
Muskingon and Menehwehna beneath a 
dark roof of pines — and yet their boughs 
were transparent, and he looked straight 
through them into blue sky. Was he dead ? 
Had he passed into a world where time was 
not, that all these things were happening to- 
gether? If so, how came the two Indians 
here? And Barboux? He could hear Bar- 
boux muttering : no, shouting aloud. Why 
was the man making such a noise? And 
who was that firing? . . . Oh, tell him to 
stop ! The breastwork will never be carried 
in this way — haven't the troops charged it 
again and again ? Look at Sagramore, 
there : pull him off somebody and let him 
die quiet ! For pity's sake fetch the General, 
to make an end of this folly ! Forty-sixth ! 
Where are the Forty-sixth ? . . . 

He was lying in a boat now — a canoe. 
But how could this be, when the boat was 
left behind on the other side of the moun- 
tain ? Yet here it was, plain as daylight, 
and he was lying in it; also he could remem- 



io6 FORT AMITY 

ber having been lifted and placed here by 
Muskingon — not by Menehwehna. To be 
sure Menehwehna crouched here above him, 
musket in hand. Between the shouting and 
firing he heard the noise of water tumbling 
over rapids. The noise never ceased ; it 
was all about him ; and yet the boat did not 
move. It lay close under a low bank, with 
a patch of swamp between it and the forest : 
and across this swamp towards the forest 
Muskingon was running. John saw him 
halt and lift his piece as Barboux came 
bursting through the trees with an Indian 
in pursuit. The two ran in line, the Indian 
lifting a tomahawk and gaining at every 
stride ; and Muskingon had to step aside 
and let them come abreast of him before he 
fired at close quarters. The Indian fell in a 
heap ; Barboux struggled through the swamp 
and leapt into the canoe as Muskingon 
turned to follow. But now three — four — 
five Indians were running out of the woods 
upon him ; four with tomahawks only, but 
the fifth carried a gun ; and, while the others 
pursued, this man, having gained the open, 
dropped swiftly on one knee and fired. At 
that instant Mcnehwehna's musket roared 
out close above John's head ; but as the 
marksman rolled over, dead, on his smoking 
gun, Muskingon gave one leap like a 



MENEHWEHNA SETTLES ACCOUNTS 107 

wounded stag's, and toppled prone on the 
edge of the bank close above the canoe. 

And with that, and even as Menehwehna 
sprang to his feet to reach and rescue him, 
Barboux let fly an oath, planted the butt 
of his musket against the bank, and thrust 
the canoe off. It was done in a second. In 
another, the canoe had lurched afloat, the 
edge of the rapid whirled her bow round, 
and she went spinning down-stream. 

All this John saw distinctly, and after- 
wards recalled it all in order, as it befell. 
But sometimes, as he recalled it, he seemed 
to be watching the scene with an excruciating 
ache in his brain ; at others, in a delicious 
languor of weakness. He remembered too 
how the banks suddenly gathered speed and 
slid past while the boat plunged and was 
whirled off in the heart of the rapid. Mus- 
kingon had uttered no cry : but back — far 
back — on the shore sounded the whoops of 
the Iroquois. 

Then — almost at once — the canoe was 
floating on smooth water and Menehwehna 
talking with Barboux. 

"It had better be done so," Menehwehna 
was saying. "You are younger than I, 
and stronger, and it will give you a better 
chance." 

"Don't be a fool," growled Barboux. 



io8 FORT AMITY 

*'The man was dead, I tell you. They are 
always dead when they jump like that. Que 
(liable ! I have seen enough fighting to 
know." 

But Menehwehna replied, ''You need much 
sleep and you cannot watch against me. I 
have reloaded my gun, and the lock of yours 
is wet. Indeed, therefore, it must be as I 
say. 

After this, Barboux said very little : but 
the canoe was paddled to shore and the two 
men walked aside into the woods. The sun 
was setting and they cast long shadows upon 
the bank as they stepped out. 

John lay still and dozed fitfully, waking up 
now and then to brush away the mosquitoes 
that came with the first falling shadows to 
plague him. 

By-and-by in the twilight Menehwehna 
returned and stood above the bank. He 
tossed a bundle into the canoe, stepped after 
it, and pushed off without hurry. 

John laughed, as a child might laugh, 
guessing some foolish riddle. 

" You have killed him ! " 

*' He did wickedly," answered Meneh- 
wehna. '' He was a fool and past bearing." 

John laughed again ; and, being satisfied, 
dropped asleep. 



CHAPTER X 

BOISVEYRAC 

ALONG the river-front of Boisveyrac, on 
Jr\ the slopes between the stone walls of 
the Seigniory and the broad St. Lawrence, 
Dominique Guyon, the Seigneur's farmer, 
strode to and fro encouraging the harvesters. 
"Work, my children ! Work ! " 
He said it over and over again, using the 
words his father had always used at this 
season. But the harvesters — old Damase 
Juneau and his wife La Marmite, Jo La- 
gasse, the brothers Pierre and Telesphore 
Courteau, with Telesphore's half-breed wife 
Leelinau (Lelie, in French) — all knew the 
difference in tone. It had been worth while 
in former times to hear old Bonhomme 
Guyon say the words, putting his heart into 
them, while the Seigneur himself would 
follow behind, echoing, '*Yes, that is so. 
Work, my children : work is the great 
cure ! " But Bonhomme Guyon was dead 
these two months — rest his soul ; and the 

109 



no FORT AMITY 

Seigneur gone up the river to command a 
fortress for the King of France ; and no one 
left at Boisveyrac but themselves and half a 
dozen militiamen and this young Dominique 
Guyon, who would not smile and was a 
skinflint. 

It was as if the caterpillars had eaten the 
mirth as well as the profits out of this harvest 
which (if folks said true) the Seigneur needed 
so badly. Even the children had ceased to 
find it amusing, and had trooped after the 
priest, Father Launoy, up the hill and into 
the courtyard of the Chateau. 

"Work, my friends!" said Dominique. 
He knew well that they detested him and 
would have vastly preferred his brother 
Bateese for overseer. For his part, he took 
life seriously : but no one was better aware 
of the bar between him and others' love or 
liking. 

They respected him because he was the 
best canotier on the river ; a better even than 
his malformed brother Bateese, now with the 
army. When he drew near they put more 
spirit into their pitchforking. 

" But all the same it breaks the back, this 
suspense," declared La Marmite. "I never 
could work with more than one thing in my 
mind. Tell us, Dominique Guyon : the 
good Father will be coming out soon, will 



BOISVEYRAC iii 

he not? — that is, if he means to shoot the 
falls before sunset." 

"What can it matter to you, mother?" 

" Matter? Why if he doesn't come soon, 
I shall burst myself with curiosity, that is 
all ! " 

"But you know all that can be told. 
There has been a great victory, for certain." 

"Eh? Eh? You are clever enough, 
doubtless ; but you don't think you can 
question and cross-question a man the way 
that Father Launoy does it? Why the last 
time I confessed to him he turned me upside 
down and emptied me like a sack." 

"There has been a great victory : that is 
all we need to know. Work, my friends, 
work with a good heart ! " 

But when his back was turned they drew 
together and talked, glancing now towards 
the Seigniory above the slope, now towards 
the river bank where a couple of tall Etche- 
min Indians stood guard beside a canoe, and 
across the broad flood to the woods on the 
farther shore stretching away southward in a 
haze of blue. Down in the south there, far 
beyond the blue horizon, a battle had been 
fought and a great victory won. 

Jo Lagasse edged away towards Corporal 
Chretien, who kept watch, musket in hand, 
on the western fringe of the clearing. Har- 



112 FORT AMITY 

vests at Boisveyrac had been gathered under 
arms since time out of mind, with sentries 
posted far up the shore and in the windmill 
behind the Seigniory, to give warning of the 
Iroquois. To-day the corporal and his men 
were specially alert, and at an alarm the 
workers would have plenty of time to take 
shelter within the gateway of the Chateau. 

''Well, it seems that we may all lift up 
our hearts. The English are done for, and 
next season there is to be a big stamping-out 
of the Iroquois." 

"Who told you that, Jo Lagass^?" 

'* Every one is saying it. Pierre Courteau 
has even some tale that two thousand of 
them were slaughtered after the battle yonder 
— Onnontagues and Agniers for the most 
part. At this rate you idlers will soon be 
using your bayonets to turn the corn with 
the rest of us." 

"Yes ; that's right — call us idlers! And 
the Iroquois known to be within a dozen 
miles ! You would sing to another tune, my 
friend, if we idlers offered to march off and 
leave you just now." The corporal swung 
round on his thin legs and peered into the 
belt of trees. 

Jo Lagasse grinned. 

" No, no, corporal ; I was jesting only. 
To think of me undervaluing the military ! 



BOISVEYRAC 113 

Why often and often, as a single man with 
no ties, I have fancied myself enlisting. But 
now it will be too late." 

*' If M. de Montcalm has really swallowed 
the English," answered the other drily, ''it 
will be too late, as you say." 

"But these English, now — I have always 
had a curiosity to see them. Is it true, 
corporal, that they have faces like devils, 
and that he who has the misfortune to be 
killed by one will assuredly rise the third 
day? The priests say so." 

Corporal Chretien had never actually con- 
fronted his country's foes. "Much would 
depend," he answered cautiously, "upon 
circumstances, and upon what you mean by 
a devil." 

While Jo Lagasse scratched his head over 
this, the wicket opened in the great gate 
of the Seigniory, and Father Launoy came 
forth with a troop of children at his heels. 
The harvesters crowded about him at once. 

He lifted a hand. He was a tall priest 
and square-shouldered, with the broad brow 
and set square chin of a fighting man. 

"My children," he announced in a voice 
clear as a bell, "it is certain there has been 
a great battle at Fort Carillon. The English 
came on, four to one, gnashing their teeth 
like devils of the pit. But the host of the 



114 FORT AMITY 

faithful stood firm and overcame them, and 
now they are flying- southward whence they 
came. Let thanks be given to God who 
giveth us the victory ! " 

The men bared their heads. 

"When I met 'Polyte Latuhppe and young 
Damase on my way down the river, I could 
scarcely believe their tale. But the Ojibway 
puts it beyond doubt ; and the few answers 
I could win from the wounded sergeant all 
confirm the story." 

"His name. Father? " asked La Marmite. 
"We can get nothing out of Dominique 
Guyon, who keeps his tongue as close as his 
fist." 

"His name is a Olive, and he is of the 
regiment of Beam. He has come near to 
death's door, poor fellow, and still lies too 
near to it for talking. But I think he is 
strong enough to bear carrying up to Fort 
Amitie, where the Seigneur — who, by the 
way, sends greeting to you all " 

"And our salutations go back to him. 
Would he were here to-day to see the harvest 
carried ! " 

"The Seigneur, having heard what 'Polyte 
and Damase have to tell, will desire to hear 
more of this glorious fight. For myself, I 
must hasten down to Montreal, where I have 
a message to deliver, and perhaps I may 



BOISVEYRAC 115 

reach there with these tidings also before the 
boats, which are coming up by way of the 
Richelieu. Therefore I am going to borrow 
Dominique Guyon of you, to pilot me down 
through the Roches Fendues. And talking 
of Dominique " — here the Jesuit laid a hand 
on the shoulder of the young man, who bent 
his eyes to the ground — **you complain that 
he is close, eh ? How often, my children, 
must I ask you to judge a brother by his 
virtues ? To which of you did it occur, when 
these men came, to send 'Polyte and Damase 
up to Fort Amitie with their news? No 
one has told me : yet I will wager it was 
Dominique Guyon. Who sat up, the night 
through, with this wounded stranger ? Dom- 
inique Guyon. Who has been about the 
field all day, as though to have missed a 
night's sleep were no excuse for shirking the 
daily task? Dominique Guyon. Again, to 
whom do I turn now to steer me down the 
worst fall in the river? To Dominique Guyon. 
He will arrive back here to-night tired as a 
dog, but once more at daybreak it will be 
Dominique who sets forth to carry the 
wounded man up to Fort Amitie. And why ? 
Because, when a thing needs to be done 
well, he is to be trusted ; you would turn 
to him then and trust him rather than any 
of yourselves, and you know it. Do you 



ii6 FORT AMITY 

grumble, then, that the Seigneur knows it? 
I say to you that a man is born thus, or 
thus ; responsible or not responsible ; and a 
man that is born responsible, though he add 
pound to pound and field to field, is a man 
to be thankful for. Moreover, if he keep 
his own counsel, you may go to him at a 
pinch with the more certainty that he will 
keep yours." 

''What did I tell you?" whispered La 
Marmite to Jo Lagasse, who had joined the 
little crowd. "The Father's eye turns you 
inside out : he knows how we have been 
grumbling all day. But all the same," she 
added aloud, "he is young and ought to 
laugh." 

" I have told you," said Father Launoy, 
" that you should judge a man by his virtues : 
but, where that is hard, at least you should 
judge him by help of your own pity. All 
this day Dominique has been copying his 
dead father ; and the same remembrance that 
has been to him a sorrowful incitement, has 
been to you but food for uncharitable thoughts. 
If I am not saying the truth, correct me." 

They were silent. The priest had a great 
gift of personal talk, straight and simple ; 
and treated them as brothers and sisters of 
a family, holding up the virtues of this one, 
or the faults of that, to the common gaze. 



BOISVEYRAC 117 

They might not agree with this laudation of 
Dominique : but no one cared to challenge 
it at the risk of finding himself pilloried for 
public laughter. Father Launoy knew all 
the peccadilloes of this small flock, and had 
a tongue which stripped your clothes off — to 
use an expression of La Marmite's. 

They followed him down to the shore 
where the Etchemins held the canoe ready. 
There they knelt, and he blessed them before 
embarking. Dominique stepped on board 
after him, and the two Indians took up their 
paddles. 

Long after the boat had been pushed off and 
was speeding down the broad waterway, the 
harvesters stood and watched it. The sunset 
followed it, gleaming along its wake and on 
its polished quarter, flashing as the paddles 
rose and dipped ; until it rounded the corner 
by Bout de I'lsle, where the rapids began. 

The distant voice of these rapids filled the 
air with its humming ; but their ears were 
accustomed to it and had ceased to heed. 
Nor did they mark the evening croak of the 
frogs alongshore among the reed beds, until 
Jo Lagasse imitated it to perfection. 

"To work, my children!" he croaked. 
*' Work is the only cure ! " 

They burst out laughing, and hurried back 
to gather the last load before nightfall. 



CHAPTER XI 
FATHER LAUNOY HAS HIS DOUBTS 

FOR a little while after leaving the shore 
the priest kept silence. 

*' Dominique," said he at length, *' there 
is something in your guests that puzzles me; 
and something too that puzzles me in the 
manner of their coming to Boisveyrac. Tell 
me now precisely how you found them." 

'* It was not I who found them, Father. 
Telesphore Courteau came running to me, a 
little before sunset, with news that a man — 
an Indian — was standing on the shore oppo- 
site and signalling with his arms as if for 
help. Well, at first I thought it might be 
some trick of the Iroquois — not that I had 
dreamed of any in the neighbourhood : and 
Chretien got his men ready and under arms. 
But the glass seemed to show that this was 
not an Iroquois : and next I saw a bundle, 
which might be a wounded man, lying on 
the bank beside him. So we launched a 
boat and pushed across very carefully until 

Ii8 



FATHER LAUNOY HAS HIS DOUBTS 119 

we came within hail : and then we parleyed 
for some while, the soldiers standing ready 
to fire, until the Indian's look and speech 
convinced me — for I have been as far west 
as Michilimackinac, and know something of 
the Ojibway talk. So when he called out 
his nation to me, I called back to him to 
leave speaking in F'rench and use his own 
tongue." 

"Yes, yes — he is an Ojibway beyond 
doubt." 

''Well, Father, while I was making sure 
of this, we had pushed forward little by little 
and I saw the wounded man clearly. He 
was half-naked, but lay with his tunic over 
him, as the Indian had wrapped him against 
the chill. Indeed he was half-dead too, 
and past speaking, when at length we took 
him off." 

"And they had lost their boat in the 
Cedars? " 

"So the Ojibway said. The wonder is 
that they ever came to shore." 

"The wonder to my thinking is rather 
that, coming through the wilderness from 
the Richelieu River, they should have 
possessed a canoe to launch on the Great 
River here." 

"Their tale is that they were four, and 
happened on a small party of Iroquois by 



I20 FORT AMITY 

surprise : and that two perished while this 
pair possessed themselves of the Iroquois' 
canoe and so escaped." 

'*Yes, " mused the priest, '*so again the 
Ojibway told me. A strange story : and 
when I began to put questions he grew more 
and more stupid — but I know well enough 
by this time, I should hope, when an Indian 
pretends to be duller than he is. The sick 
man I could not well cross-examine. He 
told me something of the fight at Fort 
Carillon, where he, it appears, saw the main 
fighting upon the ridge, while the Indians 
were spread as sharpshooters along the 
swamps below. For the rest he refers me to 
his comrade." Father Launoy fell to musing 
again. "What puzzles me is that he carries 
no message, or will not own to carrying one. 
But what then brings him across the Wilder- 
ness? The other boats with the wounded 
and prisoners went down the Richelieu to its 
mouth, and will be travelling up the Great 
River to Montreal — that is, if they have not 
already arrived. Now why should this one 
boat have turned aside ? That I could 
understand, if the man were upon special 
service : the way he came would be a short 
cut either down the river to Montreal, or up- 
stream to Fort Amitie or Fort Frontenac. 
But, as I say, this man apparently carries no 



FATHER LAUNOY HAS HIS DOUBTS 121 

message. Also he started from Fort Carillon 
with two wounds ; and who would entrust 
special service to a wounded man ? " 

*'Of a certainty, Father, he was wounded, 
as I myself saw when we drew off his shirt. 
The hurt in his ribs is scarcely skinned over, 
and he has a fresh scar on his wrist. But 
the blow on the head, from which he suffers, 
is later, and was given him (he says) by an 
Indian." 

''A bad blow — and yet he escaped." 

"A bad blow. Either from that or from 
the drenching, towards morning his head 
wandered and he talked at full speed for an 
hour." 

''Of what did he talk?" asked the priest 
quickly. 

"That I cannot tell, since he chattered in 
English." 

"English? How do you know that it 
was English ? " 

"Why, since it was not French, nor like 
any kind of Indian ! Moreover, I have 
heard the English talk. They were prisoners 
brought down from Oswego, twelve batteaux 
in all, and I took them through the falls. 
When they talked, it was just as this man 
chattered last night." 

"Then you, too, Dominique, find your 
guest a strange fellow? " 



122 FORT AMITY 

**Oh, as for that! He is a sergeant, and 
of the regiment of Beam. Your reverence 
saw his coat hanging by the bed." 

''Even in that there is something strange. 
For Beam lies in the Midi, close to the 
Pyrenees ; and, as I understand, the regi- 
ment of Beam was recruited and officered 
almost entirely from its own province. But 
this Sergeant a Clive comes from the north ; 
his speech has no taste of the south in it, 
and indeed he owns to me that he is a 
northerner. He says further that he comes 
from my own seminary of Douai. And this 
again is correct ; for I cross-questioned him 
on the seminary, and he knows it as a hand 
knows its glove — the customs of the place, 
the lectures, the books in use there. He has 
told me, moreover, why he left it. . . . 
Dominique, you do right in misliking your 
guest." 

" I do not say. Father, that I mislike him. 
I fear him a little — I cannot tell why." 

"You do right, then, to fear him ; and I 
will tell you why. He is an atheist." 

''An atheist? O— oh !" 

" He has been of the true Faith. But he 
rejected me ; he would make no confession, 
but turned himself to the wall when I ex- 
horted him. Voyo7is — here is a Frenchman 
who talks English in his delirium ; a 



FATHER LAUNOY HAS HIS DOUBTS 123 

northerner serving in a regiment of the 
south ; an infidel, from Douai. Dominique, 
I do not like your guest." 

*'Nor I, Father, since you tell me that he 
is an atheist." 

While they talked they had been lifting 
their voices insensibly to the roar of the 
nearing rapids ; and were now come to Bout 
de risle and the edge of peril. Below Bout 
de risle the river divided to plunge through 
the Roches Fendues, where to choose the 
wrong channel meant destruction. Yet a 
mile below the Roches Fendues lay the 
Cascades, with a long straight plunge over 
smooth shelves of rock and two miles of 
furious water beyond. Yet further down 
came the terrible rapids of Lachine, not to 
be attempted. There the voyageurs would 
leave the canoe and reach Montreal on 
foot. 

Father Launoy was a brave man. Thrice 
before he had let Dominique lead him 
through the awful dance ahead, and always 
at the end of it had felt his soul purged of 
earthly terrors and left clean as a child's. 

Dominique reached out a hand in silence 
and took the paddle from the Etchemin, 
who crawled aft and seated himself with an 
expressionless face. Then with a single 
swift glance astern to assure himself that the 



124 FORT AMITY 

other Indian was prepared, the young man 
knelt and crouched, with his eyes on the 
V-shaped ripple ahead, for the angle of 
which they were heading. 

On this, too, the priest's eyes were bent. 
He gripped the gunwale as the current 
lifted and swept the canoe down at a pace 
past control ; as it sped straight for the point 
of the smooth water, and so, seeming to be 
warned by the roar it met, balanced itself 
fore-and-aft for one swift instant and plunged 
with a swoop that caught away the breath. 

The bows shot under the white water below 
the fall, lifted to the first wave, knocking up 
foam out of foam, and so dived to the next, 
quivering like a reed shaken in the hand. 
Dominique straightened himself on his 
knees. In a moment he was working his 
paddle like a madman, striking broad off 
with it on this side and that, forcing the 
canoe into its course, zigzagging within a 
hand's breadth of rocks which, at a touch, 
would have broken her like glass, and across 
the edge of whirlpools waiting to drown a 
man and chase his body round for hours 
within a few inches of the surface ; and all 
at a speed of fifteen to eighteen miles an 
hour, with never an instant's pause between 
sight and stroke. The Indian in the stern 
took his cue from Dominique ; now paddling 



FATHER LAUNOY HAS HIS DOUBTS 125 

for dear life, now flinging his body back as 
with a turn of the wrist he checked the 
steerage. 

The priest sat with a white drenched face ; 
a brave man terrified. He felt the floor of 
the world collapsing, saw its forests reeling 
by in the spray. It cracked like a bubble 
and was dissolved in rainbows — wisps caught 
in the rocks and fluttering in the wind of 
the boat's flight. Then, as the pressure on 
heart and chest grew intolerable, the speed 
began to slacken and he drew a shuddering 
breath ; but his brain still kept the whirl of 
the wild minutes past and his hand scarcely 
relaxed its grip on the gunwale. As a run- 
away horse, still galloping, drops back to 
control, so the canoe seemed to find her 
senses and leapt at the waves with a cunning 
change of motion, no longer shearing through 
their crests, but riding them with a long and 
easy swoop. Still Father Launoy did not 
speak. He sat as one for whom a door has 
been held half-open, and closed again, upon 
a vision. 

Yet when he found his tongue — which was 
not until they reached the end of the white 
water, and Dominique, after panting awhile, 
headed the canoe for shore — his voice did 
not shake. 

"It was a bold thought of these men, or 



126 FORT AMITY 

a foolhardy, to strike across the Wilderness," 
he said meditatively, in the tone of one 
picking up a talk which chance has inter- 
rupted. 

"There are many ways through those 
woods," Dominique answered. "Between 
here and Fort Niagara you may hear tell of 
a dozen perhaps ; and the Iroquois have 
their own." 

*' Let us hope that none of theirs crosses 
the one you and Bateese taught to Monsieur 
Armand. The Seigneur will be uneasy 
about his son when he hears what 'Polyte 
and Damase report ; and Monsieur Etienne 
and Mademoiselle Diane will be uneasy 
also." 

" But this Ojibway saw nothing of M. 
Armand or his party." 

"No news is good news. As you owe 
the Seigneur your duty, take your guests 
up to Fort Amitie to-morrow and let them 
be interrogated." 

"My Father, must I go?" There was 
anguish in Dominique's voice. " Surely Jo 
Lagasse or Pierre Courteau will do as well ? 
— and there is much work at Boisveyrac 
which cannot be neglected." 

They had come to shore, and the priest 
had stepped out upon the bank after Domi- 
nique for a few parting words. 



FATHER LAUNOY HAS HIS DOUBTS 127 

'* But that is not your true reason ? " He 
laid his hand on the young man's shoulder 
and looked him in the eyes. 

Dominique's fell. ^' Father," he entreated 
in a choking* voice, ''you know my secret: 
do not be hard on me ! ' Lead us not into 
temptation ' " 

'* It will not serve you to run from yours. 
You must do battle with it. Bethink you 
that, as through the Wilderness, there are 
more ways than one in love, and the best 
is that of self-denial. Mademoiselle Diane 
is not for you, Dominique, her father's 
censitairc : yet you may love her your life 
through, and do her lifelong service. To- 
morrow, by taking these men to Fort 
Amite, you may ease her heart of its fears : 
and will you fail in so simple a devoir? 
There is too much of self in your passion, 
Dominique — for I will not call it love. Love 
finds itself in giving : but passion is always 
a beggar." 

"My Father, you do not understand " 

''Who told you that I do not under- 
stand?" the priest interrupted harshly. "I 
too have known passion, and learnt that it is 
full of self and comes of Satan. Nay, is 
that not evident to you, seeing what mis- 
chief it has already worked in your life ? 
Think of Bateese." 



128 FORT AMITY 

'*Do I ever cease thinking of Bateese? 
Do I ever cease fighting with myself?" 
Dominique's voice rose almost to a cry of 
pain. He stared across the water with 
gloomy eyes and added— it seemed quite 
inconsequently — "The Cascades is a bad 
fall, but I think it will be the Roches 
Fendues that gets me in the end." 

He said it calmly, wistfully : and, pausing 
for a moment, met the priest's eyes. 

'* Your blessing. Father. I will go." 

He knelt. 

Generations of voyageurs^ upward bound, 
and porting their canoes to avoid the falls, 
had worn a track beside the river bank. 
Dominique made such speed back along it 
that he came in sight of Boisveyrac as the 
bell in the little chapel of the Seigniory 
began to ring the Angelus. Its note came 
floating down the river distinct above the 
sound of the falls. He bared his head, and 
repeated his Aves duly. 

''But all the same," he added, working 
out the train of his thoughts as he gazed 
across the deserted harvest-fields, impover- 
ished by tree-stumps, to the dense forest 
behind the Chateau, 'Met God confound the 
English, and New France shall belong to a 
new noblesse that have learned, as the old 
will not, to lay their hands on her wealth." 



CHAPTER XII 
THE WHITE TUNIC 

JOHN A CLEEVE lay on his bed in the 
guest-room of the Seigniory, listening 
to the sound of the distant falls. 

That song was his anodyne. All day he 
had let it lull his conscience, rousing himself 
irritably as from a drugged sleep to answer 
the questions put to him by Dominique or 
the priest. Dominique's questions had been 
few and easily answered, the most of them 
relating to the battle. 

''A brother of mine was there beyond 
doubt," he had wound up wistfully. "He 
is a batteau-man, by name Baptiste Guyon. 
But of course you will not know him ? " 

" lis m'ont tire pour la battue, moi," John 
had fenced him off with a feeble joke and a 
feeble laugh. (Why should he feel ashamed ? 
Was this not war, and he a prisoner tricking 
his captors ?) 

But the priest had been a nuisance. 
Heaven be praised for his going ! 

K 129 



I30 FORT AMITY 

And now the shadows were closing upon 
the room and in the hush of sunset the voice 
of the waters had Hfted its pitch and was 
humming insistently, with but a semitone's 
fall and rise. During the priest's exhorta- 
tions he had turned his face to the wall ; but 
now for an hour he had lain on his other 
side, studying the rafters, the furniture, the 
ray of sunlight creeping along the floor- 
boards and up the dark, veneered face of an 
a7'moirc built into the wall. Behind the 
doors of it hung Sergeant Barboux's white 
tunic ; and sometimes it seemed to him that 
the doors were transparent and he saw it 
dangling like a grey ghost within. 

It was to avoid this sight that he had 
turned to the wall when the priest began to 
interrogate him. Heavens! how incurably, 
after all, he hated these priests ! 

Menehwehna had answered most of the 
questions, standing by the bed's foot : and 
Menehwehna was seated there still in the 
dusk. 

How many lies had Menehwehna told? 
John himself had told none, unless it were 
a lie to pronounce his name French-fashion 
— ''John a Cleeve," ''Jean a Clive." And, 
once more, was not this war ? 

For the rest and for his own part, it was 
astonishing how easily, the central truth 



THE WHITE TUNIC 131 

being hidden — that the tunic in the armoire 
was not his — the deception had run on its 
own wheels. Why, after all, should that 
tunic frighten him ? He, John a Cleeve, 
had not killed its wearer. He had never 
buttoned it about him nor slipped an arm 
into one of its sleeves. Menehwehna had 
offered to help him into it and had shown 
much astonishment on being refused. John's 
own soiled regimentals they had weighted 
with a stone and sunk in the river, and he 
had been lying all but naked, with the 
accursed garment over his legs, when the 
rescue-party found them on the bank. 

How many lies had Menehwehna told? 
John could remember the sound of two 
voices, the priest's and the Indian's, ques- 
tioning and explaining ; but the sound only. 
As soon as he shut his eyes and tried to re- 
call the words, the priest's voice faded down 
the song of the falls, and only the Indian 
and himself were left, dropping — dropping — 
to the sound, over watery ledges and beneath 
pendant boughs. Then, as the walls of the 
room dissolved and the priest's figure van- 
ished with them, Menehwehna's voice grew 
distinct. At one time it said: "What is 
done is done. Come with me, and we will 
go up through the Great Lakes, beyond 
Michilimackinac, to the Beaver Islands 



132 FORT AMITY 

which are in the mouth of Lake Michigan. 
There we will find the people of my tribe, 
and when the snow comes and they separate, 
you shall go with me to the wintering- 
grounds and learn to be a hunter." 

In another dream the voice said : *' You 
will not come because you weary of me and 
wish to leave me. We have voyaged to- 
gether, and little by little my heart has been 
opened to you ; but yours will not open in 
return. I would have made you to me all 
that Muskingon was ; but you would not. 
When I killed that man, it was for your sake 
no less than Muskingon 's. I told him so 
when he died. Of what avail is my friend- 
ship, brother, when you will give me none in 
exchange ? . . . 

In yet a third dream the canoe floated on 
a mirror, between a forest and the image of 
a forest. . . . His eyes followed the silver 
wake of a musk-rat swimming from shore to 
shore, and in his ear Menehwehna was say- 
ing, " Your head is weak yet: when it grows 
stronger you will wish to come. Muskingon 
struck you too hard — so — with the flat of his 
tomahawk. He did not mean it, but his 
heart was jealous that already so much of 
my love had passed over to you. Yet he 
was a good lad, and my daughter's husband. 
The White-coat called across the stream to 



THE WHITE TUNIC 133 

him, to kill you ; but he would not, nor 
would he bring you over the ford until we 
had made the White-coat promise that you 
should not be killed for trying to run away. 
The man could do nothing against us two ; 
but he bore ill-will to Muskingon afterwards, 
and left him to die when we could have 
saved him." 

So, while John had lain senseless, fate had 
been binding him with cords — cords of guilt 
and cords of gratitude — and twining them 
inextricably. Therefore he feared sleep, 
because these dreams awoke him to pluck 
again at the knot of conscience. Ease came 
only with the brain's exhaustion, when in 
sheer weakness he could let slip the tangle 
and let the song of the rapids drug his senses 
once more. 

He turned on his side and watched the 
sunbeam as it crept up the face of the 
armoire. "Menehwehna ! " he called weakly. 

From his seat in the corner among the 
shadows the Indian came and stood behind 
him. 

" Menehwehna, this lying cannot go on! 
Make you for this fort they talk of ; tell your 
tale there and push on to join your tribe. 
Let us fix a length of time, enough for your 
travel beyond reach, and at the end of it 
I will speak." 



134 FORT AMITY 

*'And what will my brother tell them?" 

''The truth — that I am no Frenchman but 
an English prisoner." 

'* It is weakness makes you lose patience," 
answered Menehwehna, as one might soothe 
a child. '' Let the weak listen to the strong. 
All things I have contrived, and will con- 
trive ; there is no danger, and will be none." 

John groaned. How could he explain 
that he abhorred this lying ? Worse — how 
could he explain that he loathed Meneh- 
wehna's company and could not be friends 
with him as of old ; that something in his 
blood, something deep and ineradicable as the 
difference between white man and red man, 
cried out upon the sergeant's murder? How 
could he make this clear ? Menehwehna — 
who had preserved his life, nursed him, toiled 
for him cheerfully, borne with him patiently 
— would understand only that all these pains 
had been spent upon an ingrate. John 
tugged away from the bond of guilt only to 
tighten this other yet more hateful bond of 
gratitude. He must sever them both, and 
in one way only could this be done. He and 
Menehwehna must part. ''I do not fear to 
be a prisoner. Moreover, it will not be for 
long. The river leads, after all, to Quebec ; 
and the English, if they take Louisbourg, 
will quickly push up that way." 



THE WHITE TUNIC 135 

*'The White-coat used to speak wisdom 
once in a while," answered Menehwchna 
gravely. '''It is a great battle,' he said, 
'that battle of If; only it has the misfortune 
never to be fought.' Take heart, brother, 
and come with me to the Isles du Castor. 
When your countrymen take Quebec you 
shall return to them, if you still have the 
mind, and I will swear that we held you 
captive. But to tell this needless tale is a 
sick man's folly." 

John could not meet the Indian's eyes, full 
as they were of a wondering simplicity. He 
feared they might read the truth — that his 
desire to escape was dead. During Father 
Launoy's exhortations he had lain, as it were, 
with his ear against its cold heart ; had lain 
secretly whispering it to awake. But it 
would not. The questions and cross-ques- 
tions about Douai he had answered almost 
inattentively. What did it all matter? 

The priest had been merely tedious. Back 
on Lake Champlain and on the Richelieu, 
when the world of his ken, though lost, lay 
not far behind him, his hope had been to 
escape and seek back to it ; his comfort 
against failure the thought that here in the 
north one restful, familiar face awaited him 
— the face of the Church Catholic. Now 
the hope and the consolation were gone 



136 FORT AMITY 

together. Perhaps under the lengthening 
strain some vital spring had snapped in him, 
or the forests had slowly choked it, or it 
had died with a nerve of the brain under 
Muskingon's tomahawk. 

He was not Sergeant a Clive of the regi- 
ment of Beam ; but almost as little was he 
that Ensign John a Cleeve of the Forty- 
sixth who had entered the far side of the 
Wilderness. 

He wanted only to be quit of Menehwehna 
and guilt. It would be a blessed relief to 
lie lost, alone, as a ball tossed into a large 
country. As he had fallen, so he prayed to 
lie ; empty in the midst of a great emptiness. 
The Communion of all the Saints could not 
comfort him now, since he had passed all 
need of comfort. 

'*You must go, Menehwehna. I will not 
speak until you are beyond reach." 

'Mt is my brother that talks so. Else 
would I call it the twitter of a wren that has 
flown over. Is Menehwehna a coward, that 
he spoke with thought of saving himself?" 

''I know that you did not," answered 
John, and cursed the knowledge. But the 
voice of the falls had begun to lull him. 
'*We will talk of it to-morrow," he said 
drowsily. 

" Yes, indeed ; for this is a thought of 



THE WHITE TUNIC 137 

sickness, that a man should choose to be a 
prisoner when by any means he may be free." 

He found a tinder-box and lit the night- 
lamp — a wick floating in a saucer of oil : 
then, having shaken up John's pillow and 
given him to drink from a pannikin, went 
noiselessly back to his corner. 

The light wavered on the dark panels of 
the armoire. While John watched, it fell 
into tune with the music of the distant 
falls. . . . 

He awoke, with the rhythm of dance-music 
in his brain. In his dream the dawn was 
about him, and he stood on the lawn outside 
the Schuylers' great house above Albany. 
From the ballroom came the faint sound of 
violins, while he lingered to say good-bye to 
three night-gowned little girls in the window 
over the porch ; and some way down the hill 
stood young Sagramore, of the Twenty - 
seventh, who was saying, "It is a long way 
to go. Do you think he is strong enough?" 

Still in his dream John turned on him in- 
dignantly. And behold ! it was not young 
Sagramore, but Dominique, standing by the 
bed and talking with Menehwehna. 

" We are to start for the Fort, it appears," 
said Menehwehna to John. 

"Let us first make sure," said Dominique, 
"that he is strong enough to dress." He 



138 FORT AMITY 

thrust his hand within the armoirc and un- 
hitched the white tunic from its peg. 

John shrank back into his corner. 

*' Not that ! " he stammered. 

Across the lamp smoking in the dawn, 
Dominique stared at him. 



CHAPTER XIII 
FORT AMITIE 

THE Fort stood high on a wooded slope 
around which the river swept through 
narrows to spread itself below in a lake three 
miles wide and almost thirty long. In shape 
it was quadrilateral with a frontage of fifty 
toises and a depth of thirty, and from each 
angle of its stone walls abutted a flanking 
tower, the one at the western angle taller 
than the others by a good twenty feet and 
surmounted by a flagstaff. 

East, west, and south, the ground fell 
gently to the water's edge, entirely clear of 
trees : even their stumps had been uprooted 
to make room for small gardens in which the 
garrison grew its cabbages and pot-herbs ; 
and below these gardens the Commandant's 
cows roamed in a green riverside meadow. 
At the back a rougher clearing, two cannon- 
shots in width, divided the northern wall 
from the dark tangle of the forest. 

The canoe had been sighted far down the 
139 



I40 FORT AMITY 

lake, and the Commandant himself, with 
his brother M. Etienne and his daughter 
Mademoiselle Diane, had descended to the 
quay to welcome the voyageurs. A little 
apart stood Sergeant Bedard, old Jeremie 
Tripier (formerly major-domo and general 
factotum at Boisveyrac, now at Fort Amitie 
promoted to be mardchal des logis)^ and five 
or six militiamen. And to John, as he 
neared the shore in the haze of a golden 
evening, the scene and the figures — the trim 
little fortress, the white banner of France 
transparent against the sky, the sentry like 
a toy figure at the gate, the cattle browsing 
below, the group at the river's brink — ap- 
peared as a tableau set for a child's play. , 

To add to the illusion, as the canoe came 
to the quay the sun sank, a gun boomed out 
from the tallest of the four towers, and the 
flag ran down its staff ; all as if by clockwork. 
As if by clockwork, too, the taller of the two 
old gentlemen on the quay — the one in a 
gold-laced coat — stepped forward with a 
wave of his hand. 

*' Welcome, welcome, my good Domi- 
nique ! It will be news you bring from 
Boisveyrac — more news of the great victory, 
perhaps ? And who are these your com- 
rades ? " 

" Your servant, Monseigneur ; and yours, 



FORT AMITIE 141 

Monsieur Etienne, and yours, Mademoiselle 
Diane ! " Dominique brought his canoe 
alongside and saluted respectfully. '*A11 
my own news is that we have gathered the 
harvest at Boisveyrac ; a crop not far below 
the average, we hope. But Father '^x^aunoy 
desired me to bring you these strangers, who 
will tell of matters more important." 

''It is the wounded man — the sergeant 
from Fort Carillon ! " cried Diane, clasping 
her hands. 

''Eh, my child ? Nonsense, nonsense — he 
wears no uniform, as you see. Moreover, 
'Polyte Latulippe brought word that he was 
lying at the point of death." 

"It is he, nevertheless." 

" Mademoiselle has guessed rightly," said 
Dominique. " It is the wounded soldier. I 
have lent him an outfit." 

The Commandant stared incredulously 
from Dominique to John, from John to 
Menehwehna, and back again to John. A 
delightful smile irradiated his face. 

"Then you bring us a good gift indeed! 
Welcome, sir, welcome to Fort Amitie! where 
we will soon have you hale and strong again, 
if nursing can do it." 

Here, if John meant to play his part, was 
the moment for him to salute. He half 
lifted his hand as he reclined, but let it fall 



142 FORT AMITY 

again. From the river-bank a pair of eyes 
looked down into his ; dark grey eyes — or 
were they violet? — shy and yet bold, dim 
and yet shining with emotion. God help 
him ! This child — she could be little more — 
was worshipping him for a hero ! 

"Nay, sir, give it to me!" cried the 
Commandant, stooping by the quay's edge. 
*'I shall esteem it an honour to grasp the 
hand of one who comes from Fort Carillon 
— who was wounded for France in her hour 
of victory. Your name, my friend ? — for the 
messengers who brought word of you yester- 
day had not heard it, or perhaps had for- 
gotten." 

" My name is a Cleeve, monsieur." 

"A Clive? a Clive? It is unknown to 
me, and yet it has a good sound, and should 
belono" to 2in homme bien ne?'' He turned 
inquiringly towards his brother, a mild, 
elderly man with a scholar's stoop and a 
face which assorted oddly with his uniform 
of captain of militia, being shrivelled as 
parchment and snuflF-dried and abstracted in 
expression as though he had just lifted his 
eyes from a book. '*A Clive, Etienne. From 
what province should our friend derive?" 

M. Etienne's eyes — they were, in fact, 
short-sighted — seemed to search inwardly 
for a moment before he answered : 



FORT AMITIE 143 

''There was a family of that name in the 
Quercy ; so late, I think, as 1650. I had 
supposed it to be extinct. It bore arms 
counterpaly argent and gules, a canton 
ermine " 

''My brother, sir," the Commandant inter- 
rupted, "is a famous genealogist. Do you 
accept this coat-of-arms he assigns to you ? " 

"If M. le Commandant will excuse 
me 



"Eh, eh? — an awkward question, no 
doubt, to put to many a young man of 
family now serving with the colours? " The 
Commandant chuckled knowingly. " But 
I have an eye, sir, for nice shades, and an 
ear too. Verbum sapienti satis, A sergeant, 
they tell me — and of the Bearnais ; but until 
we have cured you, sir, and the active list 
again claims you, you are Monsieur a Clive 
and my guest. We shall talk, so, upon an 
easier footing. Tut-tut ! I have eyes in my 
head, I repeat. And this Indian of yours 
— how does he call himself?" 

" Menehwehna, monsieur. He is an 
Ojibway." 

"And you and he have come by way of 
the Wilderness? Now what puzzles me " 

"Papa! " interposed the girl gently, lay- 
ing a hand on her father's sleeve; "ought 
we not to get him ashore before troubling 



144 FORT AMITY 

him with all these questions ? He is suffer- 
ing, I think." 

"You say well, my child. A thousand 
pardons, sir. Here, Bedard ! Jeremie ! " 

But it was Menehwehna who, with in- 
scrutable face, helped John ashore, suffering 
the others only to hold the canoe steady. 
John tried hard to collect his thoughts to 
face this new situation. He had dreamed 
of falling among savages in these back- 
woods ; but he had fallen among folk gentle 
in manner and speech, anxious to show him 
courtesy ; folk to whom (as in an instant he 
divined) truth and uprightness were dearer 
than life and judged as delicately as by his 
own family at home in Devonshire. How 
came they here ? Who was this girl whose 
eyes he avoided lest they should weigh him, 
as a sister's might, in the scales of honour? 

A man may go through life cherishing 
many beliefs which are internecine foes ; 
unaware of their discordance, or honestly 
persuaded that within him the lion and the 
lamb are lying down together, whereas in 
truth his fate has never drawn the bolts of 
their separate cages. John had his doubts 
concerning God ; but something deeper than 
reason within him detested a lie. Yet as a 
soldier he had accepted without examination 
the belief that many actions vile in peace 



FORT AMITIE 145 

are in war permissible, even obligatory ; a 
loose belief, the limits of which no man in 
his regiment — perhaps no man in the two 
armies — could have defined. In war you 
may kill ; nay, you must ; but you must do 
it by code, and with many exceptions and 
restrictions as to the how and when. In war 
(John supposed) you may lie ; nay, again, 
in certain circumstances you must. 

With this girl's eyes upon him, worship- 
ping him for a hero, John discovered suddenly 
that here and now he could not. For an 
instant, as if along a beam of light, he looked 
straight into Militarism's sham and ugly 
heart. 

Yes, he saw it quite clearly, and was re- 
solved to end the lie. But for the moment, 
in his bodily weakness, his will lagged behind 
his brain. As a sick man tries to lift a hand 
and cannot, so he sought to rally his will to 
meet the crisis and was dismayed to find it 
benumbed and half asleep. 

They were ascending the slope, and still 
as they went the Commandant's voice was 
questioning him. 

"Through the Wilderness ! That was no 
small exploit, my friend, and it puzzles me 
how you came to attempt it ; for you were 
severely wounded, were you not?" 

" I received two wounds at Fort Carillon, 

L 



146 FORT AMITY 

monsieur. The proposal to make across the 
woods was not mine. It came from the 
French sergeant in command of our boat." 
**So — so. I ought to have guessed it. 
You were a whole boat's party then, at start- 
ing?" John felt the crisis near; but the 
Commandant's mind was discursive, and he 
paused to wave a proprietory hand towards 
the walls and towers of his fortress. ''A 
snug little shelter for the backwoods — eh, 
M. a Clive? I am, you must know, a student 
of the art of fortification ; c 'est ma rengaine, 
as my daughter will tell you, and I shall 
have much to ask concerning that famous 
outwork of M. de Montcalm's, which touches 
my curiosity. So far as Damase could tell 
me, Fort Carillon itself was never even in 

danger " But here Mademoiselle Diane 

again touched his sleeve. "Yes, yes, to be 
sure, we will not weary our friend just now. 
We will cure him first ; and while he is mend- 
ing") yo^ shall look out a new uniform from 
the stores and set your needle to work to 
render it as like as you can contrive to the 
Bearnais. Nay, sir, to her enthusiasm that 
will be but a trifle. Remember that you 
come to us crowned with laurels, and with 
news for which we welcome you as though 
you brought a message from the General 
himself." A sudden thought fetched the 



FORT AMITIE 147 

Commandant to a standstill. *'You are sure 
that the sergeant, your comrade, carried no 
message? " 

John paused with Menehwehna's arm sup- 
porting him. 

''If he carried a message, monsieur, he 
told me of none." 

Where were his faculties ? Why were they 
hanging back and refusing to come to grips 
with the crisis? Why did this twilit riverside 
persist in seeming unreal to him, and the 
actors, himself included, as figures moving 
in a shadow-play? 

Once, in a dream, he had seen himself 
standing at the wings of a stage — an actor, 
dressed for his part. The theatre was crowded; 
some one had begun to ring a bell for the 
curtain to go up ; and he, the hero of the 
piece, knew not one word of his part, could 
not even remember the name of the play or 
what it was about. The dream had been 
extraordinarily vivid, and he had awakened 
in a sweat. 

"But," the Commandant urged, "he must 
have had some reason for striking through 
the forest. What was his name ? " 
' "Barboux." 

John, as he answered, could not see 
Menehwehna's face; but Menehwehna's sup- 
porting arm did not flinch. 



148 FORT AMITY 

''Was he, too, of the regiment of Beam?" 

'' He was of the Bearnais, monsieur." 

"Tell us now. When the Iroquois over- 
took you, could he have passed on a message, 
had he carried one ? " 

While John hesitated, Menehwehna an- 
swered him. "It was I only who saw the 
sergeant die," said Menehwehna quietly. 
"He gave me no message." 

" You were close to him ? " 

"Very close." 

"It is curious," mused the Commandant, 
and turned to John again. "Your falling 
in with the Iroquois, monsieur, gives me 
some anxiety ; since it happens that a party 
from here and from Fort Frontenac was 
crossing the Wilderness at about the same 
time, with messages for the General on Lake 
Champlain. You saw nothing of them?" 

Again Menehwehna took up the answer. 
"We met no one but these Iroquois," he 
said smoothly. 

And as Menehwehna spoke the words John 
felt that everyone in the group about him 
had been listening for it with a common 
tension of anxiety. He gazed around, be- 
wildered for the moment by the lie. The 
girl stood with clasped hands. "Thank 
God ! " he heard the Commandant say, lift- 
ing his hat. 



FORT AMITIE 149 

What new mystery was here? Meneh- 
wehna stood with a face immobile and in- 
scrutable ; and John's soul rose up against 
him in rage and loathing. The man had 
dishonoured him, counting on his gratitude 
to endorse the lie. Well, he was quit of 
gratitude now. "To-morrow, my fine fel- 
low," said he to himself, clenching his teeth, 
**the whole tale shall be told ; between this 
and the telling you may save your skin, if 
you can " ; and so he turned to the Com- 
mandant. 

''Monsieur," he said with a meaning 
glance at Menehwehna, "I beg you to accept 
no part of our story until I have told it 
through to you." 

The Commandant was plainly puzzled. 
"Willingly, monsieur; but I beg you to 
consider the sufferings of our curiosity and 
be kind in putting a term to them." 

"To-morrow " began John, and look- 
ing up, came to a pause. Dominique Guyon 
had followed them up from the boat and 
was thrusting himself unceremoniously upon 
the Commandant's attention. 

"Since this monsieur mentions to-mor- 
row," interrupted Dominique abruptly, "and 
before I am dismissed to supper, may I claim 
the Seigneur's leave to depart early to- 
morrow morning ? " 



ISO FORT AMITY 

The interruption was so unmannerly that 
John stared from one to another of the 
group. The Commandant's face had grown 
very red indeed. Dominique himself seemed 
sullenly aware of his rudeness. But John's 
eyes came to rest on Mademoiselle Diane s ; 
on her eyes for an instant, and then on her 
lashes, as she bent her gaze on the ground — 
it seemed to him, purposely, and to avoid 
Dominique's. 

"Dominique," said the Commandant 
haughtily, "you forget yourself. You intrude 
upon my conversation with this gentleman." 
His voice shook and yet it struck John that 
his anger covered some anxiety. 

"Monseigneur must forgive me," answered 
Dominique, still with an awkward sullenness. 
"But it is merely my dismissal that I beg. 
I wish to return early to-morrow to Bois- 
veyrac ; the harvest there is gathered, to be 
sure, but no one can be trusted to finish the 
stacks. With so many dancing attendance 
on the military, the Seigniory suffers ; and, 
by your leave, I am responsible for it." 

He glared upon John, who gazed back 
honestly puzzled. The Commandant seemed 
on the verge of an explosion, but checked 
himself. 

"My excellent Dominique Guyon," said 
he, "uses the freedom of an old tenant. But 



FORT AMITIE 151 

here we are at the gate. I bid you welcome, 
Monsieur a Clivc, to my small fortress! Tut, 
tut, Dominique ! We will talk of business in 
the morning." 

Alone with Menehwehna in the bare hos- 
pital ward to which old Jeremie as marechal 
des logis escorted them, John turned on the 
Ojibway and let loose his indignation. 

''And look you," he wound up, ''this 
shall be the end. At daybreak to-morrow 
the gate of the fort will be opened. Take the 
canoe and make what speed you can. I will 
give you until ten o'clock, but at that hour I 
promise you to tell my tale to the Com- 
mandant, and to tell him all." 

*'If my brother is resolved," said Meneh- 
wehna composedly, "let him waste no 
words. What is settled is settled, and to be 
angry will do his head no good." 

He composed himself to sleep on the floor 
at the foot of John's bed, pulling his rug up 
to his ears. There were six empty beds in 
the ward, and one had been prepared for 
him ; but Menehwehna despised beds. 

John awoke to sunlight. It poured in 
through three windows high in the white- 
washed wall opposite, and his first thought 
was to turn over and look for Menehwehna. 

Menehwehna had disappeared. 



152 FORT AMITY 

John lay back on the pillow and stared up 
at the ceiling. Menehwehna had gone ; he 
was free of him, and this day was to deliver 
his soul. In an hour or so he would be 
sitting under lock and key, but with a con- 
science bathed and refreshed, a companion 
to be looked in the face, a clear-eyed coun- 
sellor. The morning sunlight filled the room 
with a clean cheerfulness, and he seemed to 
drink it in through his pores. Forgetting 
his wound, he jumped out of bed with a 
laugh. 

As he did so his eye travelled along the 
empty beds in the ward, and along a row of 
pegs above them, and stiffened suddenly. 

There were twelve pegs, and all were bare 
save one — the one in the wall-space separat- 
ing his bed from the bed which had been 
prepared for Menehwehna ; and from this 
peg hung Sergeant Barboux's white tunic. 

It had not been hanging there last night 
when he dropped asleep : to that he could 
take his oath. He had supposed it to be 
left behind in the armoire at Boisveyrac. 
For a full minute he sat on the bed's edge 
gazing at it in sheer dismay, its evil menace 
closing like a grip upon his heart. 

But by-and-by the grip relaxed as dismay 
gave room to rage, and with rage came 
courage. 



FORT AMITIE 153 

He laughed again fiercely. Up to this 
moment he had always shrunk from touch 
of the thing ; but now he pulled it from its 
peg, held it at arm's length for a moment, 
and flung it contemptuously on the floor. 

'*You, at least, I am not going to fear 
any longer ! " 

As he cast it from him something crackled 
under his fingers. For a second or two he 
stood over the tunic, eyeing it between old 
disgust and new surmise. Then, dropping 
on one knee, he fumbled it over, found the 
inner breast-pocket, and pulled from it a 
paper. 

It was of many sheets, folded in a blue 
wrapper, sealed with a large red seal, and 
addressed in cipher. 

Turning it over in his hand, he caught 
sight, in the lower left-hand corner, of a 
dark spot which his thumb had covered. 
He stared at it ; then at his thumb, to the 
ball of which some red dust adhered ; then 
at the seal. The wax bore the impress of 
a flying Mercury, with cap, caduceus and 
winged sandals. The ciphered address he 
could not interpret ; it was brief, written in 
two lines, in a bold clear hand. 

This, then, was the missive which Barboux 
had carried. 

Had Menehwehna discovered it and placed 



154 FORT AMITY 

it here for him to discover? Yes, undoubtedly. 
And this was a French despatch; and at any 
cost he must intercept it ! His soldier's 
sacrament required no less. He must con- 
ceal it — seek his opportunity to escape with 
it — go on lying meanwhile in hope of an 
opportunity. 

Where now was the prospect of his soul's 
deliverance ? 

He crept back to bed and was thrusting 
the letter under his pillow when a slight 
sound drew his eyes towards the door. 

In the doorway stood Menehwehna with a 
breakfast-tray. The Indian's eyes travelled 
calmly across the room as he entered and 
set the tray down on the bed next to John's. 
Without speaking he picked up the tumbled 
tunic from the floor and set it back on its 
peg. 



XIV 
AGAIN THE WHITE TUNIC 

*' T) UT touching this polygon of M. de 

JJ Montcalm's " 

Within the curtain-wall facing the water- 
side the ground had been terraced up to 
form a high platform or terre-plein^ whence 
six guns, mounted in embrasures, commanded 
the river. Hither John had crept, with the 
support of a stick, to enjoy the sunshine and 
the view, and here the Commandant had 
found him and held him in talk, walking 
him to and fro, with pauses now and again 
beside a gun for a few minutes' rest. 

''But touching this polygon of M. de 
Montcalm's, he would doubtless follow Cour- 
montaigne rather than Vauban. The angles, 
you say, were boldly advanced ? " 

"So they appeared to me, monsieur; but 
you understand that I took no part " 

" By advancing the angles boldly" — here 
the Commandant pressed his finger-tips to- 
gether by way of illustration — "we allow so 

155 



156 FORT AMITY 

much more play to enfilading fire. I speak 
only of defence against direct assault ; for of 
opposing such a structure to artillery the 
General could have had no thought." 

" Half-a-dozen six-pounders, well directed, 
could have knocked it about his ears in as 
many minutes." 

*'That does not detract from his credit. 
Every general fights with two heads — his 
own and his adversary's ; and, for the 
rest, we have to do what we can do with our 
material." The Commandant halted and 
gazed down whimsically upon the courtyard, 
in the middle of which his twenty-five militia- 
men were being drilled by M. Etienne and 
Sergeant Bedard. ''My whole garrison, sir! 
Eh ? you seem incredulous. My whole 
garrison, I give you my word ! Five-and- 
twenty militiamen to defend a post of this 
importance ; and up at Fort Frontenac, the 
very key of the West, my old friend Payan 
de Noyan has but a hundred in command! I 
do not understand it, sir. Stores we have in 
abundance, and ammunition and valuable 
presents to propitiate the Indians who no 
longer exist in this neighbourhood. Yes, 
and — would you believe it? — no longer than 
three months ago the Governor sent up a 
boatload of women. It appeared that his 
Majesty had forwarded them all the way 



AGAIN THE WHITE TUNIC 157 

from France, for wives for his faithful soldiers. 
I packed them off, sir, and returned them to 
M. de Vaudreuil. 'With all submission to 
his Majesty's fatherly wisdom,' I wrote, *the 
requirements of New France at this moment 
are best determined by sterner considera- 
tions ' ; and I asked for fifty regulars to man 
our defences. M. de Vaudreuil replied by 
sending me up one man, and he had but one 
arm ! I made Noyan a present of him ; his 
notions of fortification were rudimentary, not 
to say puerile." 

The Commandant paused and dug the 
surface of the terre-plein indignantly with his 
heel. ''As for fortification, do I not know 
already what additional defences we need ? 
Fort Amitie, monsieur, was constructed by 
the great Frontenac himself, and with won- 
derful sagacity, if we consider the times. 
Take, for example, the towers. You are 
acquainted, of course, with the modern rule 
of giving the bastions a salient angle of 
fifteen degrees in excess of half the angle of 
the figure in all figures from the square up to 
the dodecagon ? Well, Fort Amitie being a 
square — or rather a right-angled quadrilateral 
— the half of its angle will be forty -five 
degrees ; add fifteen, and we get sixty ; which 
is as nearly as possible the salience of our 
flanking towers; only they happen to be 



158 FORT AMITY 

round. So far, so good ; but Frontenac had 
naturally no opportunity of studying Vau- 
ban's masterpieces, and perhaps as the older 
man he never digested Vauban's theories. 
He did not see that a quadrilateral measur- 
ing fifty toises by thirty must need some pro- 
tection midway in its longer curtains, and 
more especially on the river-side. A ravelin 
is out of the question, for we have no counter- 
scarp to stand it on — no ditch at all in fact; 
our glacis slopes straight from the curtain to 
the river. I have thought of a tenaille — of 
a flat bastion. We could do so much if only 
M. de Vaudreuil would send us men ! — but, 
as it is, on what are we relying? Simply, 
M. a Clive, on our enemies' ignorance of our 
weakness." 

John turned his face away and stared out 
over the river. The walls of the fort seemed 
to stifle him ; but in truth his own breast was 
the prison. 

"Well now," the Commandant pursued, 
"your arrival has set me thinking. We can- 
not strengthen ourselves against artillery ; 
but they say that these English generals 
learn nothing. They may come against us 
\vith musketry, and what served Fort Carillon 
may also serve Fort Amitie. A breastwork 
— call it a lunette — half-way down the slope 
yonder, so placed as to command the landing- 



AGAIN THE WHITE TUNIC 159 

place at close musket range — it might be 
useful, eh ? There will be trouble with 
Polyphile Cartier — 'Sans Quartier,' as they 
call him. He is proud of his cabbages, and 
we might have to evict them; yes, certainly 
our lunette would impinge upon his cabbages. 
But the safety of the Fort would, of course, 
override all such considerations." 

He caught John by the arm and hurried 
him along for a better view of Sans Quartier's 
cabbage-patch. And just then Mademoiselle 
Diane came walking swiftly towards them 
from the end of the terre-plein by the flag- 
staff tower. An instant later the head and 
shoulders of Dominique Guyon appeared 
above the ascent. 

Clearly he was following her ; and as she 
drew near John read, or thought he read, a 
deep trouble in the child's eyes. But from 
her eyes his glance fell upon a bundle that 
she carried, and his own cheek paled. For 
the bundle was a white tunic, and it took a 
second glance to assure him that the tunic 
was a new one and not Sergeant Barboux's ! 

''Eh? What did I tell you? She has 
been rifling the stores already ! " Here the 
Commandant caught sight of Dominique 
and hailed him. " Hola, Dominique ! " 

Dominique halted for a moment and then 
came slowly forward ; while the girl, having 



i6o FORT AMITY 

greeted John with a grown woman's dignity, 
stood close by her father's elbow. 

''Dominique, how many men can you 
spare me from Boisveyrac, now that the har- 
vest is over? " 

" For what purpose do you wish men, 
Monseigneur ? " 

" Eh ? That is my affair, I hope." 

The young man's face darkened, but he 
controlled himself to say humbly, "Mon- 
seigneur rebukes me with justice. I should 
not have spoken so ; but it was in alarm for 
his interests." 

''You mean that you are unwilling to 
spare me a single man ? Come, come, my 
friend — the harvest is gathered ; and, apart 
from that, my interests are the King's. 
Positively you must spare me half a dozen 
for his Majesty's corvee.'' 

"The harvest is gathered, to be sure ; but 
no one at Boisveyrac can be trusted to finish 
the stacks. They are a good-for-nothing 
lot ; and now Damase, the best thatcher 
among them, has, I hear, been sent up to 
Fort Frontenac along with 'Polyte Latu- 
lippe." 

" By my orders." 

Dominique bent his eyes on the ground. 

" Monseigneur's orders shall be obeyed. 
May I have his permission to return at once 



AGAIN THE WHITE TUNIC i6i 

to Boisveyrac ? — at least, as soon as we have 
discussed certain matters of business ? " 

'* Business ? But since it is not convenient 

just now " It seemed to John that 

the old gentleman had suddenly grown 
uneasy. 

" I speak only of certain small repairs ; the 
matter of Legasse's holding, for example," 
said Dominique tranquilly. "The whole 
will not detain Monseigneur above ten 
minutes." 

''Ah, to be sure!" The Commandant's 
voice betrayed relief. " Come to my orderly- 
room, then. You will excuse me, M. a 
Clive?" 

He turned to go, and Dominique stepped 
aside to allow the girl to accompany her 
father. But she made no sign. He shot 
a look at her and sullenly descended the 
terrace at his seigneur's heels. 

Mademoiselle Diane's brow grew clear 
again as the sound of his footsteps died 
away, and presently she faced John with a 
smile so gay and frank that (although, quite 
involuntarily, he had been watching her) the 
change startled him. There was something 
in this girl at once innocently candid and 
curiously elusive ; to begin with, he could 
not decide whether to think of her as child 
or woman. Last night her eyes had rested 

M 



i62 FORT AMITY 

on him with a child's open wonder, and a 
minute ago in Dominique's presence she had 
seemed to shrink close to her father with a 
child's timidity. Now, gaily as she smiled, 
her bearing had grown dignified and self- 
possessed. 

''You are not to leave me, please, M. a 
Clive — seeing that I came expressly to find 
you. 

John lifted his hat with mock gravity. 
''You do me great honour, mademoiselle. 
And Dominique?" he added. "Was he 
also coming in search of me ? " 

She frowned, and turning towards a cannon 
in the embrasure behind her, spread the 
white tunic carefully upon it. "Dominique 
Guyon is tiresome," she said. "At times, 
as you have heard, he speaks with too much 
freedom to my father ; but it is the freedom 
of old service. The Guyons have farmed 
Boisveyrac for our family since first the 
Seigniory was built." She seemed about to 
say more, but checked herself, and stood 
smoothing an arm of the tunic upon the gun. 
"Ah, here is Felicite ! " she exclaimed, as 
a stout middle-aged woman came bustling 
along the terrace towards them. "You 
have kept me waiting, Felicite. And, good 
heavens ! what is that you carry ? Did I 
not tell you that I would get Jeremie to find 



AGAIN THE WHITE TUNIC 163 

me a tunic from the stores ? See, I have 
one ah'eady." 

" But this is not from the stores, madem- 
oiselle ! " panted Felicitd, as she came to 
a halt. ''It appears that monsieur brought 
his tunic with him — Jeremie told me he had 
seen it hanging by his bed in the sick ward 
— and here it is, see you ! " She displayed 
it triumphantly, spreading its skirts to the 
sunshine. " A trifle soiled ! but it will save 
us all the trouble in the world with the 
measurements — eh, mademoiselle ? " 

Diane's eyes were on John's face. For a 
moment or two she did not answer, but at 
length said slowly : 

"Nevertheless you shall measure mon- 
sieur. Have you the tapes? Good : give 
me one, with the blue chalk, and I will 
check off your measurements." 

She seated herself on the gun-carriage and 
drew the two tunics on to her lap. John 
shivered as she touched the dead sergeant's. 

Felicite grinned as she advanced with the 
tape. "Do not be shy of me, monsieur," 
she encouraged him affably. " You are a 
hero, and I myself am the mother of eight, 
which is in its way heroic. There should be 
a good understanding between us. Raise 
your arms a little, pray, while I take first of 
all the measure of your chest." 



i64 FORT AMITY 

Her two arms — and they were plump, not 
to say brawny — went about him. ^'Thirty- 
eight," she announced, after examining the 
tape. '' It's long since I have embraced one 
so slight." 

'* Thirty-eight," repeated Mademoiselle 
Diane, puckering up her lips and beginning 
to measure off the ponces across the breast 
and ;iback of Sergeant Barboux's tunic. 
"Thirty-eight, did you say?" 

"Thirty-eight, mademoiselle. We must 
remember that these brave defenders of ours 
sometimes pad themselves a little ; it will be 
nothing amiss if you allow for forty. Eh, 
monsieur?" Felicite laughed up in John's 
face. " But you find some difficulty, madem- 
oiselle. Can I help you ? " 

"I thank you — it is all right," Diane 
answered hurriedly. 

"Waist, twenty-nine," Felicite continued. 
"One might even say twenty-eight, only 
monsieur is drawing in his breath." 

"Where are the scissors, F61icit6 ? " de- 
manded her mistress, who had carefully 
smuggled them beneath her skirt as she 
sat. 

"The scissors? Of a certainty now I 
brought them — but the sight of that heathen 
Ojibway, when he gave me the tunic, was 
enough to make any decent woman faint ! 



AGAIN THE WHITE TUNIC 165 

I shook like an aspen, if you will credit me, 
all the way across the drill-ground, and per- 
haps the scissors . . . no, indeed, I cannot 
find them . . . but if mademoiselle will ex- 
cuse me while I run back for another pair. 
. . ." She bustled off towards the Comman- 
dant's quarters. 

Mademoiselle Diane reached down a hand 
to the tunic which had fallen at her feet, and 
drew it on to her lap again, as if to examine 
it. But her eyes were searching John's 
face. 

"Why do you shiver?" she asked. 

''I beg of you not to touch it, madem- 
oiselle. It — it hurts to see you touching it." 

''Did you kill him?" 

*'Of whom is mademoiselle speaking? " 

" Pray do not pretend to be stupid, mon- 
sieur. I am speaking of that other man — 
the owner of this tunic — the sergeant who 
took you into the forest. Did you kill 
him ? " 

'* He died in fair fight, mademoiselle." 

"It was a duel, then?" He did not 
answer, and she continued, " I can trust 
your face, monsieur. I am sure it was only 
in fair fight. But why should you think me 
afraid to touch this? Oh, why, M. a Clive, 
will men take it so cruelly for granted that we 
women are afraid of the thought of blood — 



i66 FORT AMITY 

nay, even that we owe it to ourselves to be 
afraid ? If we are what you all insist we 
should be, what right have we to be born in 
these times ? Think of New France fighting 
now for dear life — ah ! why should I a.sk you 
to think, who have bled for her ? Yet you 
would have me shudder at the touch of a 
stained piece of cloth ; and while you hold 
these foolish prejudices, can you wonder that 
New France has no Jeanne d'Arc? When 
I was at the Ursulines at Quebec, they used 
to pray to her and ask for her intercession ; 
but what they taught was needlework." 

"The world has altered since her time, 
mademoiselle," said John, falsely and lamely. 
*'Has it? It burnt her; even in those 
days it did its best according to its lights," 
she answered bitterly. ''Only in these days 
there are no heroines to burn. No heroines 
... no fires . . . and even in our needle- 
work we must be demure, and not touch a 
garment that has been touched with blood ! 
Monsieur, was this man a coward?" She 
lifted the tunic. 

''He was a vain fellow and a bully, madem- 
oiselle, but by no means a coward." 
" He fought for France ? " 
"Yes; and, I believe, with credit." 
"Then, monsieur, because he was a bully, 
I commend the man who killed him fairly. 



AGAIN THE WHITE TUNIC 167 

And because he was brave and fought for 
France, I am proud to handle his tunic." 

As John a Cleeve gazed at her kindled 
face, the one thought that rose above his 
own shame was a thought that her earnest- 
ness marvellously made her beautiful. 



CHAPTER XV 
THE SECOND DESPATCH 

DOMINIQUE GUYON departed short- 
ly before noon ; and a week later half 
a dozen habitants arrived from Boisveyrac to 
work at the entrenchment which the Com- 
mandant had already opened across Sans 
Quartier's cabbage plot. The Commandant 
himself donned a blouse and dug with the 
rest ; and M. Etienne ; and even old Jeremie 
Tripier, though grumbling over his rheuma- 
tism almost as bitterly as Sans Quartier over 
his wasted cabbages. Every one, in fact, 
toiled, and with a will, at the King's corvee : 
every one, that is, except the women, and 
John, and Menehwehna (whose Indian dig- 
nity revolted against spade-work), and old 
Father Joly, the chaplain of the fort, who 
was too infirm. 

From him, as they sat together and 
watched the diggers, John learned much 
of the fort's history, and something, too, of 
his hosts'; for Father Joly delighted in 

1 68 



THE SECOND DESPATCH 169 

gossip, and being too deaf to derive much 
profit from asking questions kept the talk 
to himself — greatly to John's relief. His 
gossip, be it said, was entirely innocent. 
The good man seemed to love every one 
in his small world, except Father Launoy. 
And again this exception was fortunate ; 
for on learning that John had been visited 
and exhorted at Boisveyrac by Father 
Launoy, Father Joly showed no further 
concern in his spiritual health. He was 
perhaps the oldest parochial priest in New 
France, and since leaving the seminary at 
Quebec had spent almost all his days at 
Boisveyrac. He remembered the Seigneur's 
father (he always called the Commandant 
*'the Seigneur"). "Such a man, monsieur! 
He stood six feet four inches in his stockings, 
and could lift and cast a grown bullock with 
his own hands." John pointed out that the 
present Seigneur — in his working blouse 
especially — made a fine figure of a man ; 
but this the old priest could hardly be 
brought to allow. "A heart of gold, I 
grant you ; but to have seen his father 
striding among his ccnsitaires on St. Mar- 
tin's Feast! It maybe that, having watched 
the son from childhood, I still think of him 
as a boy. . . ." 

Of Fort Amitie itself Father Joly had 



I70 FORT AMITY 

much to tell. It dated from the early days 
of the great Frontenac, who had planted a 
settlement here — a collection of wooden huts 
within a stockade — to be an entrepot of com- 
merce with the Indians of the Upper Lakes. 
Later it became a favourite haunt of deserters 
from the army and coiu'eurs de bois outlawed 
by royal edict ; and, strangely enough, these 
had been the days of its prosperity. Its real 
decline began when the Governor, toward 
the end of his rule, replaced the wooden 
huts with a fortress of stone. The traders, 
trappers, ne'er-do-wells and Indians deserted 
the lake-head, which had been a true camp 
of amity, and moved their rendezvous farther 
west, leaving the fortress to its Commandant 
and a sleepy garrison. 

From that time until the war the garrison 
had been composed of regulars, who lived 
on the easiest terms with their Commandant 
and his officers, and retired at the age of 
forty or fifty, when King Louis presented 
them with a farm and farm stock and pro- 
visions for two or three years, and often 
completed the outfit with a wife. 

''A veritable Age of Gold, monsieur! But 
war has put an end to it all — war, and the 
greed of these English, whom God will con- 
found ! The regulars went their ways, leaving 
only Sergeant Bedard ; who had retired upon 



THE SECOND DESPATCH 171 

a farm, but was persuaded by the Seigneur 
to come back and drill the recruits of the 
militia." 

"Who take very kindly to garrison life, 
so far as I can see." 

"Fort Amitie has its amenities, mon- 
sieur," said Father Joly, catching John's 
glance rather than hearing the words. 
"There are the allotments, to begin with — 
the fences between them, you may not have 
observed, are made of stakes from the origi- 
nal palisade ; the mould is excellent. The 
Seigneur, too, offers prizes for vegetable- 
growing and poultry-raising ; he is an un- 
erring judge of poultry, as one has need to 
be at Boisveyrac, where the rents are mostly 
paid in fowls. Indeed, yes, the young re- 
cruits are well enough content. The Seig- 
neur feeds them well, and they can usually 
have a holiday for the asking and go a-hunt- 
ing in the woods or a-fishing in the river. 
But, for my part, I regret Boisveyrac. A 
man of my years does not readily bear trans- 
planting. And here is a curious thing, mon- 
sieur ; deaf though I am, I miss the sound 
of the rapids. I cannot tell you how; never- 
theless it seems to me that something has 
gone out of my daily life, and the landscape 
here is still and empty." 

"And how," John managed to make him 



172 FORT AMITY 

hear, "did the Seigneur come to command 
Fort Amitie? " 

Father Joly glanced nervously down the 
slope and lowered his voice. ''That was 
M. Armand's doing, monsieur." Then, see- 
ing that John did not understand, "M. 
Armand — mademoiselle's brother and the 
Seigneur's only son. He went to Quebec, 
when the Governor had given him a post in 
his household ; a small post, but with good 
prospects for a young man of his birth and 
address. He had wits, monsieur, and good 
looks ; everything in short but money ; and 
there is no better blood in the province than 
that of the des Noel-Tilly. They have held 
Boisveyrac now for five generations, and 
were Seigneurs of Deuxmanoirs and Pre- 
aux-Sources even before that. Well, as I 
say, the lad started with good prospects ; 
but by-and-by he began to desert the Cha- 
teau St. Louis for the Intendant's Palace. 
Monsieur has heard of the Intendant Bigot — 
is perhaps acquainted with him? No? Then 
I may say without hurting any one's feelings 
what I would say to the Intendant himself 
were he here — that he is a corrupter of youth, 
and a corrupter of the innocence of women, 
and a corrupter of honest government. If 
New France lie under the scourge to-day, 



THE SECOND DESPATCH 173 

it is for the sins of such men as he." The 
old man's voice shook with sudden anger, but 
he calmed himself. 'Mn brief, there was 
a gambling debt — a huge sum owing ; and 
the Seigneur was forced to travel to Quebec 
and fetch the lad home. How he paid the 
amount I cannot tell you ; belike he raised 
the money on Boisveyrac, but pay he did. 
Dominique Guyon went with him to Quebec, 
having just succeeded his father, old Bon- 
homme Guyon, as Boisveyrac's man of busi- 
ness ; and doubtless Dominique made some 
arrangements with the merchants there. He 
has a head on his shoulders, that lad. M. 
de Vaudreuil, too, taking pity on a dis- 
tressed gentleman of New France, gave the 
Seigneur the command of this fort, to grow 
fat on it, and hither we have all migrated. 
But our good Seigneur will never grow fat, 
monsieur ; he is of the poor to whom shall 
belong the Kingdom of God." 

John did not clearly understand this, being 
unacquainted with the official system of pecu- 
lation by false vouchers — a system under 
which the command of a backwoods fort was 
reckoned to be worth a small fortune. His 
mind recurred to Dominique and to the Com- 
mandant's uneasiness at Dominique's men- 
tion of business. 

"A queer fellow, that Dominique!" he 



174 FORT AMITY 

muttered, half to himself; "and a queer fate 
that made him the brother of Bateese." 

The priest heard, as deaf men sometimes 
will hear a word or two spoken below ordi- 
nary pitch. 

'* Ah ! " said he, shaking his head. '' You 
have heard of Bateese ? A sad case — a very 
sad case ! " 

"There was an accident, I have heard." 

Father Joly glanced at John's face and, 
reading the question, bent his own dim eyes 
on the river. John divined at once that the 
old man knew more than he felt inclined to 
tell. 

"It was at Bord-a-Loup, a little above 
Boisveyrac, four years ago last St. Peter's 
tide. The two brothers were driving some 
timber which the Seigneur had cleared there ; 
the logs had jammed around a rock not far 
from shore and almost at the foot of the fall. 
The two had managed to get across and 
were working the mass loose with hand- 
spikes when, just as it began to break up, 
Bateese slipped and fell between two logs." 

"Through some careless push of Domi- 
nique's, was it not?" 

But Father Joly did not hear, or did not 
seem to. 

" He was hideously broken, poor Bateese. 
For weeks it did not seem possible that he 



THE SECOND DESPATCH 175 

could live. The habitants find Dominique a 
queer fellow, even as you do ; and I have 
observed that even Mademoiselle Diane 
treats him somewhat impatiently. But in 
truth he is a lad grown old before his time. 
It is terrible when such a blow falls upon 
the young. He and Bateese adored one 
another." 

And this was all John learned at the time. 
But three days later he heard more of the 
story, and from Mademoiselle Diane. 

She was seated in an embrasure of the 
terrace — the same, in fact, in which she had 
taken measurements for John's new tunic. 
She was embroidering it now with the 
Bearnais badge, and had spread Barboux's 
tunic on the gun-breach to give her the 
pattern. John, passing along the terrace in 
a brown study, while his eyes followed the 
evolutions of Sergeant Bedard's men at 
morning parade in the square below, did 
not catch sight of her until she called to him 
to come and admire her handiwork. 

"Monsieur is distrait, it appears," she 
said, mischievously. "It must be weary 
work for him, whiling away the hours in this 
contemptible fortress ? " 

" I do not find Fort Amitie contemptible, 
mademoiselle." 

She shook her head and laughed. " If 



176 FORT AMITY 

you wish to please me, monsieur, you must 
find some warmer praise for it. For in some 
sort it is my ancestral home, and I love 
every stone of it." 

" Mademoiselle speaks in riddles. I had 
thought that every one of the Commandant's 
household — except the Commandant him- 
self, perhaps — was pining to get back to 
Boisveyrac." 

She let her needlework lie for a moment, 
and sat with her eyes resting on the facade 
of the Commandant's quarters across the 
square. 

'* It is foolish in me," she said musingly; 
"for in the days of which I am thinking not 
one of these stones was laid. You must 
know, monsieur, that in those days many 
and many a young man of family took to 
the woods; no laws, no edicts would restrain 
them; the life of the forest seemed to pass 
into their blood and they could not help 
themselves . . . ah, I myself understand 
that, sometimes ! " she added, after a pause. 

''Well, monsieur," she went on, ''there 
came to Fort Amitie a certain young Raoul 
de Tilly, who suffered from this wandering 
fever. The Government outlawed him in 
the end ; but as yet his family had hopes to 
reclaim him, and, being powerful in New 
France, they managed to get his sentence 



THE SECOND DESPATCH 177 

delayed. He came here, and here he fell in 
love with an Indian girl, and married her — 
putting, they say, a pistol at the priest's 
head. The girl was a Wyandot from Lake 
Huron, and had been baptized but a week 
before. For a year they lived together in 
the Fort here ; but when a child was born 
the husband sent her down the river to his 
father's Seigniory below Three Rivers, and 
himself wandered westward into the Lakes, 
and was never again heard of. The mother 
died on the voyage, it is said ; but the child 
— a daughter — reached the Seigniory and 
was acknowledged, and lived to marry a 
cousin, a de Tilly of Roc-Sainte Anne. My 
mother was her grand-daughter." 

Why had she chosen to tell him this story? 
He turned to her in some wonder. But, for 
whatever reason she had told it, the truth of 
the story was written in her face. Hardly 
could he recognise the Mademoiselle Diane 
who had declaimed to him of Joan of Arc 
and the glory of fighting for New France. 
She was gone, and in her place a girl fronted 
him, a child almost, with a strange anguish 
in her voice, and in her eyes the look of a 
wild creature trapped. She was appealing 
to him. But again, why? 

*'I think you must be in some trouble, 
mademoiselle," said he, speaking the thought 

N 



178 FORT AMITY 

that came uppermost. Something' prompted 
him to add, " Has it to do with Dominique 
Guyon ? " The question seemed to stab her. 
She stood up trembhng, with a scared face. 

"Why should you think I am troubled? 
What made you suppose " she stam- 
mered, and stopped again in confusion. *' I 
only wanted you to understand. Is it not 
much better when folks speak to one another 
frankly ? Something may be hidden which 
seems of no importance, and yet for lack of 
knowing it we may misjudge utterly, may we 
not?" 

Heaven knew that of late John had been 
feeling sorely enough the torment of carry- 
ing about a secret. But to the girl's broken 
utterances he held no clue at all, nor could 
he hit on one. 

''See now," she went on, almost fiercely ; 
"you speak of Dominique Guyon. You sus- 
pected something — what, you could not tell ; 
perhaps it had not even come to be a suspi- 
cion. But, seeing me troubled — as you think 
— at once Dominique's name comes to your 
lips. Now listen to the truth, how simple it is. 
When Armand and I were children . . . you 
have heard of Armand ? " 

"A little ; from Father Joly." 

"Papa thinks he has behaved dishonour- 
ably, and will scarcely allow his name to be 



THE SECOND DESPATCH 179 

uttered until he shall return from the army, 
having redeemed his fault. Papa, though 
he seems easy, can be very stern on all 
questions of honour. Well, when Armand 
and I were children, we played with the 
two Guyon boys. Their father, Bonhomme 
Guyon, was only my father's farmer ; but in 
a lonely place like Boisveyrac, and with no 
one to instruct us in difference of rank and 
birth — for my mother died when I was a 
baby " 

''I understand, mademoiselle." 

**And so we played about the farm, as 
children will. But by-and-by, and a short 
while before I left Boisveyrac to go to school 
with the Ursulines, Dominique began to be 
— what shall I say ? He was very tiresome." 

She paused. ''I understand," repeated 
John quietly. 

*' At first I did not guess what he meant. 
And the others, of course, did not guess. 
But he was furiously jealous, even of his 
brother, poor Bateese. And when Bateese 
met with his accident " 

*'One moment, mademoiselle. When 
Bateese fell between the logs, was it because 
Dominique had pushed him?" 

She wrung her hands as in a sudden fright. 
*'You guessed that? How did you guess? 
No one knows it but I, and Father Launoy, 



i8o FORT AMITY 

no doubt, and perhaps Father Joly. But 
Dominique knows that / know ; and his 
misery seems to give him some hold over 
me. 

"In what way can I help you, madem- 
oiselle?" 

*'Did I ask you to help me?" She had 
resumed her seat on the gun-carriage and, 
drawing Sergeant Barboux's tunic off its gun, 
began with her embroidery scissors to snip 
at the shanks of its breast-buttons. His 
cheeks were burning now ; she spoke with a 
strained accent of levity. " I called you, 
monsieur, to say that I cannot, of course, 
copy these buttons, and to ask if you con- 
sent to my using them on your new tunic, or 
if you prefer to put up with plain ones. But 
it appears that I have wandered to some dis- 
tance from my question." She attempted a 
laugh ; which, however, failed dolefully. 

" Decidedly I prefer any buttons to those. 
But, excuse me," persisted John, drawing 
nearer, "though you asked for no help and 
need none, yet I will not believe you have 
honoured me so far with your confidence and 
all without purpose." 

"Oh," she replied, still in the same tone 
of hard, almost contemptuous, levity. "I 
had a whim, monsieur, to be understood by 
you, that is all ; and perhaps to rebuke you 



THE SECOND DESPATCH i8i 

by contrast for telling us so little of yourself. 
It is as Felicite said — you messieurs of the 
army keep yourselves well padded over the 

heart. See here " She began to dig 

with her scissor-point and lay bare the quilt- 
ing within Barboux's tunic ; but presently 
stopped, with a sharp cry. 

'* What is the matter, mademoiselle ? " 

For a second or two she snipped furiously, 
and then — "This is the matter ! " she cried, 
plunging her fingers within the lining. "A 
despatch ! He carried one after all ! " She 
dragged forth a paper and held it up in 
triumph. 

''Give it to me, please. But I say that 
you must and shall, mademoiselle ! " John's 
head swam, but he stepped and caught her 
by the wrists. 

And with that the paper fell to the ground. 
He held her wrist ; he felt only the magnetic 
touch, looked into her eyes, and understood. 
From wonder at his outburst they passed to 
fear, to appeal, to love. Yes, they shrank 
from him, sick with shame and self-compre- 
hension, pitifully seeking to hide the wound. 
But it would not by any means be hid. A 
light flowed from it, blinding him. 

''You hurt! Oh, you hurt!" 

He dropped her hands and strode away, 
leaving the paper at her feet. 



CHAPTER XVI 
THE DISMISSAL 

THE Commandant tapped the despatch 
on the table before him, with a ruse 
smile. 

"I was right then, after all, M. a Clive, 
in maintaining that your comrade carried a 
message from the General. My daughter 
has told me how you came, between you, to 
discover it. That you should have preserved 
the tunic is no less than providential ; indeed, 
I had all along supposed it to be your own." 

John waited, with a glance at the docu- 
ment, which lay with the seal downward, 
seemingly intact. 

"It is addressed," the Commandant pur- 
sued, "in our ordinary cypher to the Marquis 
de Vaudreuil at Montreal. In my own mind 
I have not the least doubt that it instructs 
him — the pressure to the south having been 
relieved by the victory at Fort Carillon — to 
send troops up to us and to M. de Noyan at 
Fort Frontenac. My good friend up there 

182 



THE DISMISSAL 183 

has been sending down appeals for reinforce- 
ments at the rate of two a week, and has 
only ceased of late in stark despair. It is 
evident that your comrade carried a message 
of some importance to Montreal ; and I have 
sent for you, monsieur, to ask : Are you in a 
condition to travel ? " 

*' You wish me to carry this despatch, 
monsieur ? " 

'' If you tell me that you are fit to travel. 
Indeed it is a privilege which you have a 
right to claim, and M. de Vaudreuil will 
doubtless find some reward for the bearer. 
Young men were ambitious in my day — eh, 
M. aClive?" 

John, averting his face, gazed out of 
window upon the empty courtyard, the slope 
of the terrace and the line of embrasures 
above it. Diane was not there beside her 
accustomed gun, and he wondered if he 
should see her again before departing. He 
wondered if he desired to see her. To be 
sure he must accept this mission, having 
gone so far in deceit. It would set him free 
from Fort Amitie ; and, once free, he could 
devise with Menehwehna some plan of escap- 
ing southward. Within the fort he could 
devise nothing. He winced under the Com- 
mandant's kindness ; yet blessed it for offer- 
ing, now at last, a term to his humiliation. 



i84 FORT AMITY 

" M. de Vaudreuil will not be slow, I feel 
sure, to recognise your services," pursued 
the Commandant genially. "But, that there 
may be no mistake about it, I have done 
myself the pleasure to write him a letter 
commending you. Would you care to hear 
a sentence or two ? No ? " — for John's hand 
went up in protest — *'Well, youth is never 
the worse for a touch of modesty. Be so 
good, then, monsieur, as to pass me the 
seal yonder." 

John picked up and handed the seal almost 
without glancing at it. His thoughts were 
elsewhere as the Commandant lit a taper, 
heated the wax, and let it drop upon the 
letter. But just as the seal was impressed, 
old Jeremie Tripier entered without knock- 
ing, and in a state of high perturbation. 
" Monseigneur ! Monseigneur ! A whole 
fleet of boats in sight — coming down the 



river 



The Commandant pushed back his chair. 

''Boats? Down the river? Nonsense, 
Jeremie, it is up the river you mean ; you 
have the message wrong. They must be 
the relief from Montreal ! " 

"Nay, Monseigneur, it is down the river 
they are approaching. The news came in 
from Sans Quartier, who is on sentry-go up- 
stream. He has seen them from Mont-aux- 



THE DISMISSAL 185 

Ours, and reports them no more than three 
miles away." 

''Please God no ill has befallen de 
Noyan!" muttered the Commandant. "Ex- 
cuse me, M. a Clive ; I must look into this. 
We will talk of our business later." 

But John scarcely heard. His eyes had 
fallen on the seal of the Commandant's letter. 
It stared back at him — a facsimile of the one 
hidden in his pocket — a flying Mercury, with 
cap, winged sandals, and caduceus. 

He pulled his wits together to answer the 
Commandant politely, he scarcely knew how, 
and followed him out to the postern gate. 
Half a dozen of the garrison — all, in fact, 
who happened to be off duty — were hurry- 
ing along the ridge to verify Sans Quartier's 
news. John, still weak from his wound, 
could not maintain the pace. Halting on 
the slope for breath, while the Commandant 
with an apology left him and strode ahead, 
he turned, caught sight of Diane, and waited 
for her. 

She came as one who cannot help herself, 
with panting bosom and eyes that supplicated 
him for mercy. But Love, not John a Cleeve, 
was the master to grant her remission — and 
who can supplicate Love ? 

They met without greeting, and for a 
while walked on in silence, he with a flame 



i86 FORT AMITY 

in his veins and a weight of lead in his 
breast. 

"Is papa sending you to Montreal?" she 
asked, scarcely above a whisper. 

'* He was giving me my orders when this 
news came." 

There was a long pause now, and when 
next she spoke he could hardly catch her 
words. " You will come again ? " 

His heart answered, "My love! O my 
love ! " But he could not speak it. He 
looked around upon sky, forest, sweeping 
river — all the landscape of his bliss, the 
prison of his intolerable shame. A fierce 
peremptory longing seized him to kill his 
bliss and his shame at one stroke. Four 
words would do it. He had but to stand up 
and cry aloud, " I am an Englishman ! " and 
the whole beautiful hideous dream would 
crack, shiver, dissolve. Only four words ! 
Almost he heard his voice shouting them 
and saW through the trembling heat her 
body droop under the stab, her love take 
the mortal hurt and die with a face of scorn. 
Only four words, and an end desirable as 
death ! What kept him silent then ? He 
checked himself on the edge of a horrible 
laugh. The thing was called Honour : and 
its service steeped him in dishonour to the 
soul. 



THE DISMISSAL 187 

**You will come again?" her eyes repeated. 

He commanded himself to say, ''It may 
be that there is now no need to go. If Fort 
Frontenac has fallen " 

''Why should you believe that Fort 
Frontenac has fallen ? " she broke in ; and 
then, clasping her hands, added in a sort 
of terror, " Do you know that— that now — 
I hardly seem able to think about Fort 
Frontenac, or to care whether it has fallen 
or not? What wickedness has come to me 
that I should be so cruelly selfish ? " 

He set his face. Even to comfort her he 
must not let his look or voice soften ; one 
touch of weakness now would send him over 
the abyss. 

"Let us go forward," said he. "At the 
next bend we shall know what has happened. " 

But around the bend came a procession 
which told plainly enough what had hap- 
pened ; a procession of boats filled with dark- 
coated provincial soldiers, a few white-coats, 
many women and children. No flags flew 
astern ; the very lift of the oars told of dis- 
grace and humiliation. Thus came Payan 
de Noyan with his garrison, prisoners on 
parole, sent down by the victorious British 
to report the fall of Frontenac and be ex- 
changed for prisoners taken at Ticonderoga. 

Already the Commandant and his men 



i88 FORT AMITY 

had surmised the truth, and were hurrying 
back along" the ridge to meet the unhappy 
procession at the quay. John and Diane 
turned with them and walked homeward in 
silence. 

The flotilla passed slowly beneath their 
eyes, but did not head in toward the quay. 
An old man in the leading boat waved an 
arm from mid-stream — or rather, lifted it in 
salutation and let it fall again dejectedly. 

This was de Noyan himself, and apparently 
his pm'olc forbade him to hold converse with 
his countrymen before reaching Montreal. 
On them next, for aught the garrison of 
Fort Amitie could learn, the enemy were 
even now descending. 

Diane, halting on the slope, heard her 
father call across the water to de Noyan, 
who turned, but shook his head and waved 
a hand once more with a gesture of refusal. 

''He was asking him to carry the despatch 
to Montreal. Since he will not, or cannot, 
you must follow with it." 

"For form's sake," John agreed. "It can 
have no other purpose now." 

They were standing at the verge of the 
forest, and she half turned towards him with 
a little choking cry that asked, as plainly as 
words, "Is this all you have to say? Are 
you blind, that you cannot see how I suffer?" 



THE DISMISSAL 189 

He stepped back a pace Into the shadow 
of the trees. She lifted her head and, as 
their eyes met, drooped it again, faint with 
love. He stretched out his arms. 

"Diane!" 

But as she ran to him he caught her by 
the shoulders and held her at arms' length. 
Her eyes, seeking his, saw that his gaze 
travelled past her and down the slope. And 
turning in his grasp she saw Menehwehna 
running towards them across the clearing 
from the postern gate, and crouching as he 
ran. 

He must have seen them ; for he came 
straight to where they stood, and gripping 
John by the arm pointed towards the quay, 
visible beyond the edge of the flagstaff tower. 

"Who are these newcomers?" cried Diane, 
recovering herself. "Why, yes, it is Father 
Launoy and Dominique Guyon ! Yes, yes — 
and Bateese ! — whom you have never seen." 

John turned to her quietly, without haste. 

"Mademoiselle," said he in a voice low 
and firm, and not altogether unhappy, "I 
have met Bateese Guyon before now. And 
these men bring death to me. Run, Meneh- 
wehna ! For me, I return to the Fort with 
mademoiselle." 

She stared at him. "Death?" she echoed, 
wondering. 



igo FORT AMITY 

'* Death, " he repeated, ''and I deserve it. 
On many accounts I have deserved it, but 
most of all for having stolen your trust. I 
am an Englishman." 

For a moment she did not seem to hear. 
Then slowly, very slowly, she put out both 
hands and cowered from him. 

"Return, Menehwehna!" commanded John 
firmly. "Yes, mademoiselle, I cannot ex- 
piate what I have done. But I go to expiate 
what I can." 

He took a step forward ; but she had 
straightened herself up and stood barring 
his path with her arm, fronting him with 
terrible scorn. 

" Expiate ! What can you expiate ? You 
can only die ; and are you so much afraid of 
death that you think it an atonement? You 
can only die, and — and — " she hid her face 
in her hands. "Oh, Menehwehna, help me! 
He can only die, and I cannot let him die ! " 

Menehwehna stepped forward with im- 
passive face. "If my brother goes down 
the hill, I go with him, " he announced calmly. 

" You see ? " Diane turned on John wildly. 
" You will only kill your friend — and to what 
purpose ? The wrong you have done you 
cannot remedy ; the remedy you seek would 
kill me surely. Ah, go ! go ! Do not force 
me to kneel and clasp your knees — you that 



THE DISMISSAL 191 

have already brought me so low ! Go, and 
let me learn to hate as well as scorn you. 
You wish to expiate ? This only will I take 
for expiation." 

**Come, brother!" urged Menehwehna, 
taking him by the arm. 

Diane bent close to the Indian, whispered 
a word in his ear, and, turning about, looked 
John in the face. 

'* Are you sorry at all ? If you are sorry, 
you will obey me now." 

With one long searching look she left him 
and walked down the slope. Menehwehna 
dragged him back into the undergrowth as 
the postern door opened, and M. Etienne 
came through it, followed by Father Launoy, 
Dominique, and Bateese. 

Peering over the bushes Menehwehna saw 
Diane descend to meet them — he could not 
see with what face. 

Marvellous is woman. She met them with 
a gay and innocent smile. 

Her whispered word to Menehwehna had 
been to keep by the waterside. And late 
that night, when the garrison had given 
over beating the woods for the fugitives, a 
canoe stole up the river, close under the north 
bank. One man sat in it; and after paddling 
for a couple of miles up-stream he began to 



192 FORT AMITY 

sing as he went — softly at first, but raising 
his voice by little and little — 

Chante, rossignol, chante, 
Toi qui as le cceur gai ; 
Tu as le coeur k rire, 
Moi je I'ai-t k pleurer. 

No answer came from the dark forest. He 
took up his chant again, more boldly : 

Tu as le coeur k rire, 

Moi je I'ai-t k pleurer ; 

J'ai perdu ma maitresse 

Sans pouvoir la trouver. 

— Lui y a longtemps que je t'aime, 

Jamais je ne t'oublierai. 

He listened. A low call sounded from the 
trees on his right, and he brought the canoe 
under the bank. 

'' Is that you, Bateese ? " 

''Monsieur, forgive me ! I said as little as 
I could, but the Reverend Father and Domi- 
nique were too clever for me. And how was 
I to have known ? . . . . Take the canoe 
and travel fast, my friends ; they will be 
searching again at dawn." 

" Did mademoiselle send the canoe ? " 

"Yes; and she charged you to answer 
one question. It was her brother — M. 
Armand — whom the Iroquois slew in the 
Wilderness. Ah, that cry ! Can one ever 
forget?" 



THE DISMISSAL 193 

** Her brother ! " John's hand went to his 
breast in the darkness. 

*' Monsieur did not know then ? I was sure 
that monsieur could not have known ! For 
myself I did not know until four days ago. 
The Iroquois had not seen us, and we es- 
caped back to the Richelieu — to Sorel — to 
Montreal, where I left my wounded man. 
Ah, monsieur, but we suffered on the way ! 
And from Montreal I made for Boisveyrac, 
and there my tongue ran loose — but in all 
innocence. And there I heard that M. 
Armand had been crossing the Wilderness 
.... but monsieur did not know it was her 
brother?" 

''That, at least, I never knew nor guessed, 
Bateese. Was this the question Madem- 
oiselle Diane desired you to ask me ? " 

"It was, monsieur. And, according to 
your answer, I was to give you her word." 

"What is her word, Bateese ? " 

"She commends you to God, monsieur, 
and will pray for you." 

"Take back my word that I will pray to 
deserve her prayers, who can never deserve 
her pardon." 



CHAPTER XVII 

FRONTENAC SHORE 

'' A ND what will my brother do?" 

Jr\. For minutes before John heard and 
answered it the question had been singing in 
his ears to the beat of the paddles. He 
supposed that Menehwehna had asked it but 
a moment ago. 

*' I cannot tell. Let us press on ; it may 
be we shall find my countrymen at Fron- 
tenac." 

"As a child breaks down a lodge which 
another child has built, and runs away, so 
your countrymen will have departed." 

Fort Amiti^ lay far behind. They were 
threading their way now among the Thou- 
sand Isles, and soon Lake Ontario opened 
before them, spreading its blue waters to the 
horizon. But John heeded neither green 
islands nor blue lake, nor their beauty, nor 
their peace, but only the shame in his heart. 
He saw only the dazzle on the water, heard 
only the swirl around his paddle, stroke by 

194 



FRONTENAC SHORE 195 

stroke, hour after hour ; prayed only for 
fatigue to drug the ache and bring about 
oblivion with the night. 

Coasting the shore they came at the close 
of day upon the charred skeletons of three 
ships lifting their ribs out of the shallows 
against the sunset, and beyond these, where 
the water deepened, to a deserted quay. 

They landed ; and while they climbed the 
slope towards the fort, out of one of its 
breaches its only inhabitant crawled to 
them — a young dog, gaunt and tame with 
hunger. 

The dog fawned upon Menehwehna. But 
John turned his back on the smoke-blackened 
walls in a sick despair, seated himself on the 
slope, and let his gaze travel southward over 
the shoreless water. Beyond the rim of it 
would lie Oswego, ruined by the French as 
the English had ruined Frontenac. 

The dog came and stretched itself at his 
feet, staring up with eyes that seemed at 
once to entreat his favour and to marvel why 
he sat there motionless. Menehwehna had 
stepped down to the canoe to fetch food for 
it, and by-and-by returned with a handful 
of biscuit. 

'* He will be useful yet," said Meneh- 
wehna, seating himself beside the dog and 
feeding it carefully with very small pieces. 



196 FORT AMITY 

''He cannot be more than a year old, and 
before the winter is ended we will make a 
hunter of him." 

John did not answer. 

''You will come with me now, brother?" 
Still Menehwehna kept his eyes on the dog. 
"There is no other way." 

"There is one way only," answered John, 
with his eyes fastened on the south. " Teach 
me to build a canoe, and let me cross the 
water alone. If I drown, I drown." 

" And if you reached ? Your countrymen 
are all gathering back to the south ; until the 
snow has come and passed, there will be no 
more fighting. You are better with me. 
Come, and when the corn begins to shoot 
again you shall tell me if you are minded to 
return." 

" Menehwehna, you do not understand." 

" I have studied you, my brother, when 
you have not guessed it ; and I say to you 
that if you went back now to your people it 
would be nothing to their gain, nor to yours, 
for the desire of fighting has gone out of you. 
Now in my nation we do not wonder when a 
man loses that desire, for we put it away as 
men by eating put away the desire of food. 
All things come to us in their season. This 
month the corn ripens, and at home my wife 
and children are gathering it ; but anon 



FRONTENAC SHORE 197 

comes the Moon of Travel, and they will 
weary of the village and watch the lake for 
me to arrive and lead them away to the 
hunting-grounds. So the beasts have their 
seasons ; the buck his month for belling, 
and the beaver his month for taking shelter 
in his house which he has stored. And with 
us, when the snow melts, it may happen 
that the war-talk begins — none knowing how 
— and spreads through the villages : first the 
young men take to dancing and painting 
their faces, and the elder men catch fire, and 
a day sees us taking leave of our womankind 
to follow the war-path. But in time we 
surfeit even of fighting, and remember our 
lodges again." 

Menehwehna paused awhile, and patted the 
dog's head. 

* 'Therefore, brother, were you of our race, 
I should not wonder that the spirit of war 
has gone out of you. I myself am weary of 
it for a season ; I forget that Frenchman 
differs from Englishman, and think of the 
sound of thin ice above the beaver's wash, 
the blood of the red-deer's hocks on the 
snow, the smell of his steak over the fire. 
But of the pale-faces some are warriors, 
some are not ; and the warriors fight, year 
in and year out, whenever they can. That 
is your calling, brother, is it not?" 



igS FORT AMITY 

'' I am not grown a coward, I hope." 

"No," said Menehwehna thoughtfully, 
"you are not a coward ; else my heart had 
never gone out to you. But I think there is 
something dead within you that must come 
to life, and something alive within you that 
must die, before you grow into a warrior 
again. As for your going back to-day, 
listen 

"There was war once between our nation 
and the Pottawatamies, and in an open fight 
our braves killed many of their enemies and 
scattered the rest to their villages. Great 
was the victory, but mournful ; for in the 
chase that followed it an arrow pierced the 
throat of the leader of the Ojibways. His 
name was Daimeka, and he a chief in my 
own island of Michilimackinac. Where he 
fell there he lay. His people lifted the body 
and propped it against a tree, seated, with 
its face towards the forest into which the 
Pottawatamies had fled. They wiped the 
dirt from his head-dress, set his bow against 
his shoulder, and so, having lamented him, 
turned their faces northward to their own 
country. 

" But Daimeka, although he could neither 
speak nor stir, saw all that his friends did, 
and heard all that they said. He listened to 
their praises of him and their talk of their 



FRONTENAC SHORE 199 

victory, and was glad ; he felt the touch of 
their hands as they set out his limbs against 
the tree, but his own hands he could not lift. 
His tears, indeed, ran as they turned to 
abandon him ; but this sign they did not see, 
and he could give no other. 

*'The story says that little by little his hot 
tears melted the frost that bound him ; and 
by-and-by, as he remembered the cry of 
home-coming — *■ Kumad-jl-ivug ! We have 
conquered ! ' — his spirit put forth an effort as 
a babe in its mother's travail, and he found 
his feet and ran after the braves. Then was 
he mad with rage to find that they had no 
eyes for him, and he no voice to call their 
attention. When they walked forward he 
walked forward, when they halted he halted, 
when they slept he slept, when they awoke 
he awoke ; nay, when they were weary he 
felt weariness. But for all the profit it 
brought him he might still have been sitting 
under the tree ; for their eyes would not see 
him, and his talk to them was as wind. 

"And this afflicted him so that at length 
he began to tear open his wounds, saying, 
' This, at least, will move them to shame, 
who owe their victory to me ! ' But they 
heeded nothing ; and when he upbraided 
them they never turned their heads. 

"At length they came to the shore where 



200 FORT AMITY 

they had left the canoes, and put across for 
the island. As they neared it the men in 
Daimeka's canoe raised the war -shout, 
^ Kumad-ji-zvug ! We have conquered!' 
and old men, wives and children came run- 
ning from the village, his own father and 
wife and children among them. ' Daimeka 
is dead ! ' was shouted many times in the 
uproar ; and the warriors spoke his praises 
while his father wept, and his wife, and his 
two small ones. 

*' ' But I am alive! ' Daimeka shouted ; for 
by this time he was in a furious passion. 
Then he ran after his wife, who was fleeing 
towards his own lodge, tearing her hair as 
she went. ' Listen to me, woman ! ' he en- 
treated, and would have held her, but could 
not. He followed her into the lodge and 
stood over her as she sat on the bed, with 
her hands in her lap, despairing. ' But I 
am alive ! ' he shouted again. ' See how my 
wounds bleed ; bind them, and give me 
food. To bleed like this is no joke, and I 
am hungry.' ' I have no long time to live,' 
said the woman to one of the children, ' even 
now I hear my man calling me, far away.* 
Daimeka, beside himself, beat her across the 
head with all his force. She put up a hand. 
' Children, even now I felt his hand caress- 
ing me. Surely I have not long to live.' 



FRONTENAC SHORE 201 

"M was better off under the tree,' said 
Daimeka to himself, and strode forth from 
the lodge. By the shore he launched one of 
the canoes ; and now he felt no wish in his 
heart but to return to the battlefield and sit 
there dead, if only he could find his body 
again which he had left — as he now felt sure 
— sitting beneath the tree. 

" On the fourth day he reached the battle- 
field. Night was falling, and as he sought 
the tree he came on a blazing fire. Across 
it he could see the tree plainly, and at the 
foot of it his body with the light on its 
face. 

" He stepped aside to walk round the fire ; 
but it moved as he moved, and again stood 
in his path. A score of times he tried to slip 
by it, but always it barred his way, and 
always beyond it stood the tree, with his own 
face fronting him across the blaze. 

*' * Fire, I am a fool,' said he at the last ; 
' but, fire, thou art a worse fool to think that 
Daimeka would turn his back ! ' And so 
saying he strode straight through its flame. 
At once he found himself seated with his 
back to the tree in his dress of war, with his 
bow resting against his shoulder. ' Now I 
am dead,' said he, contentedly ; nevertheless 
he began to finger his bow. ' On what do 
the dead feed themselves ? ' he wondered ; 



202 FORT AMITY 

and, for a trial, fixed and shot an arrow at a 
passing bird : for above the tree there was 
clear sky, though darkness lay around its 
foot and in the darkness the fire still burned. 
The bird fell ; he plucked it, cooked it at 
the fire, and ate. 

'''In life I never ate better partridge,' 
said Daimeka, ' but now that I am a real 
ghost I will return once more to Michili- 
mackinac and frighten my wife out of her 
senses, for she deserves it.' 

"So when the fire died down he arose, 
warm in all his limbs, and started northward 
again. On the fourth day he found his 
canoe where he had left it, and pushed off 
for the island. But, as he neared the shore, 
a man who had been standing there ran back 
to the village, and soon all his folk came 
running down to the beach, his wife in their 
midst. 

" ' Daimeka ! ' they cried. ' It is indeed 
Daimeka returned to us ! ' 

"'That may be,' said Daimeka, as his 
wife flung her arms around him ; ' and again, 
it may not be. But, dead or alive, I find it 
good enough.' 

"Such, my brother, is the tale of Dai- 
meka. Is it better, now, to return to your 
people as a ghost or as a man who has found 
himself? " 



FRONTENAC SHORE 203 

John lifted a face of misery. 

'*Come, " said Menehwehna, looking him 
straight in the eyes, and letting his hand 
rest from patting the dog, which turned and 
licked it feebly. 

** I will come," said John. 



CHAPTER XVIII 
NETAWIS 

THE encampment stood under the lee 
of a tall sandhill, a few paces back 
from the brink of a frozen river. Here the 
forest ended in a ragged fringe of pines ; 
and, below, the river spread into a lagoon, 
with a sandy bar between it and the lake, 
and a narrow outlet which shifted with every 
storm. The summer winds drove up the 
sand between the pine-stems and piled it in 
hummocks, gaining a few yards annually 
upon the forest as the old trees fell. The 
winter winds brought down the snow and 
whirled it among the hummocks until these 
too were covered. 

For three weeks the encampment had 
been pitched here ; and for two weeks snow 
had fallen almost incessantly, banking up 
the lodges and freezing as it fell. At length 
wind and snow had ceased and given place 
to a hard black frost, still and aching, and 
a sky of steel, and a red, rayless sun. 

204 



NETAWIS 205 

A man came down the river-bank, moving 
clumsily in his snow-shoes over the hum- 
mocks ; a man dressed as an Indian, in 
blanket-cloak and scarlet mitases. His head 
was shaven to the crown around a top-knot 
skewered with heron's feathers ; his face 
painted with black, vermilion, and a single 
streak of white between the eyebrows. He 
carried a gun under his left arm, and over 
his shoulder a pole to which he had slung 
the bodies of five beavers. Two dogs ran 
ahead of him straight for the encampment, 
which he had not discerned until they began 
to salute it with glad barking. 

Five lodges formed the encampment — four 
of them grouped in a rough semicircle among 
the main lodge, which stood back close under 
the sand-bank where an eddy of wind had 
scooped it comparatively clear of snow. 

The hunter followed his dogs to the door 
of the main lodge and lifted its frozen tent- 
flap. 

'^ Is it well done, Menehwehna?" he asked, 
and casting his pole with its load upon the 
floor he clapped his mittened hands together 
for warmth. ''Ough!" He began to pull 
the mittens off" cautiously. 

Menehwehna, seated with his back against 
the roof-pole (he had lain sick and fasting 
there all day), looked triumphantly towards 



2o6 FORT AMITY 

his wife, who crouched with her two daugh- 
ters by the lodge fire. 

''Said I not that he would bring us luck? 
And, being bitten, did they bite, my 
brother?" he asked mischievously. 

** A little. It did not hurt at the time." 

One of the two girls rose from beside the fire. 

''Show me your hands, Netawis," she said. 

Netawis — that is to say, John a Cleeve — 
stretched out his lacerated hands to the fire- 
light. As he did so his blanket-cloak fell 
back, showing a necklace of wampum about 
his throat and another looser string dangling 
against the stained skin of his breast. On 
his outstretched wrists two silver bangles 
twinkled, and two broad bands of silver on 
the upper arms. 

The girl fetched a bladder of beaver-fat 
and anointed his hands, her own trembling a 
little. Azoka was husband-high, and had 
been conscious for some weeks of a bird in 
her breast, which stirred and began to flutter 
whenever she and Netawis drew close. At 
first, when he had been fit for little but to 
make kites for the children, she had despised 
him and wondered at her father's liking. 
But Netawis did not seem to care whether 
folks despised him or not ; and this piqued 
her. Whatever had to be learnt he learned 
humbly, and now the young men had ceased 



NETAWIS 207 

to speak of him as a good-for-nothing, 
Azoka began to think that his differing from 
them was not wholly against him ; and all 
the women acknowledged him to be slim 
and handsome. 

"Many thanks, cousin," said Netawis as 
she bound up the wounds. Then he began 
to talk cheerfully over his shoulder to 
Menehwehna. '* Five washes I tried, and 
all were empty ; but by the sixth the water 
bubbled. Then I wished that I had you 
with me, for I knew that my hands would 
suffer." He smiled ; this was one of his un- 
Indian tricks. 

''It was well done, brother," said Meneh- 
wehna, and his eyes sought those of his wife 
Meshu-kwa who, still crouching by the fire, 
gazed across it at the youth and the girl. 

" But that is not all. While I was at work 
the dogs left me. At first I did not miss 
them ; and then, finding them gone, I made 
sure they had run home in scorn of my 
hunting. But no ; their tracks led me to a 
tree, not far up the stream, and there I found 
them. They were not barking, but some- 
times they would nose around the trunk and 
sometimes fall back to a little distance and 
sit whining and trembling while they stared 
up at it." 

''And the tracks around the tree? " 



2o8 FORT AMITY 

''I could find none but what the dogs 
themselves had made. I tapped the tree, 
and it was hollow. Then I saw on the north 
side, a little above my head, many deep 
scratches with moss hang-ingf in strips from 
them. The trunk ran up straight, and was 
so stout that my two arms would not span 
more than a tenth of it ; but the scratches 
went up to the first fork, and there must be 
the opening, as I guess." 

'' Said I not that Netawis would become a 
hunter and bring us luck?" asked Meneh- 
wehna again. '* He has found bear." 

''Bear! Bear! Our Netawis has found 
bear ! " cried two small urchins who had 
been rolling and tumbling with the dogs 
and almost burning their toes at the edges 
of the fire. They were the children of 
Azoka's elder sister Seeu-kwa, Muskingon's 
widow. Scrambling past Menehwehna, who 
never spoke harshly to them, and paying no 
heed to their mother's scolding, they ran out 
into the snow to carry the news to the other 
lodges. 

" Our Netawis has found bear ! " 

*' What news is this? " asked some of the 
young men who lived in a lodge apart — the 
bachelors' lodge — gathering round the door- 
way. "Seeu-kwa, look to it that your children 
do not grow up to be little liars." 



N ETA WIS 209 

Now John, surprised to find his news so 
important, had turned to Azoka with a 
puzzled smile. The firelight which danced 
on his face danced also on the long bead 
necklace heaving like a snake with the rise 
and fall of her bosom. He stared down at 
it, and Azoka — poor girl — felt his wrist 
trembling under her touch ; but it was with 
the thought of another woman. She caught 
her hand away ; and John, looking up, saw 
a young Indian, Ononwe by name, watching 
him gloomily from the doorway. 

"Ask Netawis to tell the story," said 
Menehwehna. So John told it again, and 
added that it had been difficult to call the 
dogs away from the tree. 

"But about the bear I say nothing; that 
is Menehwehna's talk. I only tell you what 

saw. 

"The wind has fallen," said one, "and 
soon the moon will be up. Let us go and 
prove this tale of Netawis." 

Meshu-kwa opposed this, calling it folly. 
"We have no axes heavy enough for tree- 
cutting," she said ; not giving her real 
reason, which was that she came of a family 
which claimed descent from a bear. When 
they mocked at her she said, "Also — why 
should I hide it ?— there came to me an evil 
dream last nieht." 



2IO FORT AMITY 

''This is the first that I have heard of 
your evil dream," answered Menehwehna, 
and gave order that after supper Netawis 
should lead the party to the tree, promising 
that he himself would follow as soon as the 
sickness left him. 

At moonrise, therefore, they set out — men 
and women together, and even the small 
children. But Menehwehna called Azoka 
back from the door of the lodge. 

" My daughter," he asked, they two being 
left alone, "has Ononwe a cause of quarrel 
against Netawis? " 

'' They are good friends," Azoka answered 
innocently. "Ononwe never speaks of 
Netawis but to praise. Surely my father 
has heard him? " 

"That is returning a ball I never flung," 
her father said, fixing grave eyes on her, 
under which she flinched. " I am thinking 
that the face of Netawis troubles the clear 
water that once was between you and Onon- 
we. Yet you tell me that Ononwe praises 
him. Sit down, therefore, and hear this 
tale." 

Azoka looked rebellious ; but no one in 
his own household disobeyed Menehwehna 
— or out of it, except at peril. 

"There was a man of our nation once, a 
young man, and good-looking as Ononwe ; 



NETAWIS 211 

SO handsome that all the village called him 
the Beau-man. This Beau-man fell deeply 
in love with a maiden called Mamondago- 
kwa, who also was passably handsome ; but 
she had no right to scorn him as she did, 
both in private and openly, so that all the 
village talked of his ill-success. This talk 
so preyed on his mind that he fell ill, and 
when his friends broke up their camp after a 
winter's hunting to return to the village, he 
lay on his bed and would not stir, but 
declared he would remain and die in the 
snow rather than look again on the face of 
her who scorned him. So at length they 
took down the lodge about him and went 
their ways, leaving him to die. 

'^But when the last of them was out of 
sight this Beau-man arose and, wandering 
over the ground where the camp had been, 
he gathered up all kinds of waste that his 
comrades had left behind — scraps of cloth, 
beads, feathers, bones and offal of meat, 
with odds and ends of chalk, soot, grease, 
everything that he could pick out of the 
trodden snow. Then, having heaped them 
together, he called on his guardian mmiitoii^ 
and together they set to work to make a 
man. They stitched the rags into coat, 
viitascs and mocassins, and garnished them 
with beads and fringes ; of the feathers they 



212 FORT AMITY 

made a head-dress, with a frontlet ; and 
then, taking* mud, they plastered the offal 
and bones together and stuffed them tightly 
into the garments. The vianitoii breathed 
once, and to the eye all their patchwork 
became fresh and fine clothing. The manitoii 
breathed twice, and life came into the figure, 
which the Beau-man had been kneading into 
the shape of a handsome youth. ' Your 
name,' said he, 'is Moowis, or the Muck- 
man, and by you I shall take my revenge.' 
*'So he commanded the Muck-man to 
follow, and together they went after the 
tracks of the tribe and came to the village. 
All wondered at the Beau-man's friend and 
his fine new clothes ; and, indeed, this 
Moowis had a frank appearance that won all 
hearts. The chief invited him to his lodge, 
and begged the Beau-man to come too ; he 
deserved no less for bringing so distinguished 
a guest. The Beau-man accepted, but by- 
and-by began to repent of his deception 
when he saw the Muck-man fed with deer 
tongue and the moose's hump while he 
himself had to be content with inferior por- 
tions, and when he observed further that 
Mamondago-kwa had no eyes for anyone 
but the Muck-man, who began to prove him- 
self a clever rogue. The chief would have 
promoted Moowis to the first place by the 



NETAWIS 213 

fire ; but this (for it would have melted him) 
he modestly refused. He kept shifting his 
place while he talked, and the girl thought 
him no less vivacious than modest, and no 
more modest than brave, since he seemed 
even to prefer the cold to the cheerful 
warmth of the hearth. The Beau-man 
attempted to talk ; but the Muck-man had 
always a retort at which the whole company 
laughed, until the poor fellow ran out of the 
lodge in a fury of shame and rage. As he 
rose he saw the Muck-man rise, with the 
assent of all, and cross over to the bride- 
groom's seat beside Mamondago-kwa, who 
welcomed him as a modest maiden should 
when her heart has been fairly won. 

''So it happened — attend to me well, my 
daughter — that Mamondago-kwa married a 
thing of rags and bones, put together with 
mud. But when the dawn broke her hus- 
band rose up and took a bow and spear, 
saying, ' I must go on a journey.' 'Then I 
will go with you,' said his bride. 'My 
journey is too long for you,' said the Muck- 
man. ' Not so,' answered she ; ' there is no 
journey that I could not take beside you, no 
toil that I could not share for love of you.' 
He strode forth, and she followed him at a 
distance ; and the Beau-man, who had kept 
watch all night outside their lodge, followed 



214 FORT AMITY 

also at a distance, unseen. All the way 
along" the rough road Mamondago-kwa 
called to her husband ; but he went forward 
rapidly, not turning his head, and she could 
not overtake him. Soon, as the sun rose, he 
began to melt. Mamondago-kwa did not 
see the gloss go out of his clothes, nor his 
handsome features change back again into 
mud and snow and filth. But still as she 
followed she came on rags and feathers and 
scraps of clothing, fluttering on bushes or 
caught in the crevices of the rocks. She 
passed his mittens, his mocassins, his mitasesy 
his coat, his plume of feathers. At length, 
as he melted, his footprints grew fainter, 
until she lost even his track on the snow. 
' Moowis ! Moowis ! ' she cried ; but now 
there was none to answer her, for the Muck- 
man had returned to that out of which he 
was made." 

Menehwehna ceased and looked at his 
daughter steadily. 

''And did the Beau-man find her and fetch 
her back ? " asked Azoka. 

''The story does not say, to my know- 
ledge ; but it may be that Ononwe could tell 
you. 

Azoka stepped to the moonlit doorway 
and gazed out over the snow. 



NETAWIS 215 

"And yet you love Netawis?" she asked, 
turning her head. 

''So much that I keep him in trust for his 
good, against a day when he will go and 
never return. But that is not a maiden's 
way of loving, unless maidens have changed 
since I went a-courting them." 

Netawis having led them to the tree, the 
young men fell to work upon it at once. It 
measured well over ten fathoms in girth ; 
and by daybreak, their axes being light, 
they had hewed it less than half-way through. 
After a short rest they attacked it again, but 
the sun was close upon setting when the tree 
fell — with a rending scream which swelled 
into a roar so human-like that the children 
ran with one accord and caught hold of their 
elders' hands. 

John, with Seeu-kwa's small boys clinging 
to him, stood about thirty paces from the 
fallen trunk. Two or three minutes passed, 
and he wondered why the men did not begin 
to jeer at him for having found them a mare's 
nest. For all was quiet. He wondered also 
why none of them approached the tree to 
examine it. 

" I shall be the mock of the camp from 
this moment," he thought, and said aloud, 
*' Let go of my hands, little ones ; there is 
no more danger." 



2i6 FORT AMITY 

But they clung to him more tightly than 
ever ; for a great cry went up. From the 
opening by the fork of the trunk a dark 
body rolled lazily out upon the snow — an 
enormous she-bear. She uncurled and 
gathered herself up on all fours, blinking 
and shaking her head as though the fall had 
left her ears buzzing, and so began to waddle 
off. Either she had not seen the crowd of 
men and women, or perhaps she despised it. 

*'Ononwe! Ononwe ! " shouted the 
Indians ; for Ononwe, gun in hand, had 
been posted close to the opening. 

He half-raised his gun, but lowered it 
again. 

" Netawis found her," he said quietly. 
" Let Netawis shoot her." 

He stepped back towards John who, 
almost before he knew, found the gun thrust 
into his hands ; for the children had let go 
their clasp. 

Amid silence he lifted it and took aim, 
wondering all the while why Ononwe had 
done this. The light was fading. To be 
sure he could not miss the bear's haunches, 
now turned obliquely to him ; but to hit her 
without killing would be scarcely less dis- 
honouring than to miss outright, and might 
be far more dangerous. His hand and fore- 
arm trembled too — with the exertion of hew- 



NETAWIS 217 

ing, or perhaps from the strain of holding 
the children. Why had he been fool enough 
to take the gun ? He foretasted his disgrace 
even as he pulled the trigger. 

It seemed to him that as the smoke cleared 
the bear still walked forward slowly. But a 
moment later she turned her head with one 
loud snap of the jaws and lurched over on 
her side. Her great fore-pads smote twice 
on the powdery snow, then were still. 

He had killed her, then ; and, as he 
learned from the applause, by an expert's 
shot, through the spine at the base of the 
skull. John had aimed at this merely at a 
guess, knowing nothing of bears or their 
vulnerable points, and in this ignorance 
neglecting a far easier mark behind the 
pin of the shoulder. 

But more remained to wonder at ; for the 
beast being certified for dead, Meshu-kwa 
ran forward and kneeling in the snow beside 
it began to fondle and smooth the head, 
calling it by many endearing names. She 
seated herself presently, drew the great jaws 
on to her lap and spoke into its ear, beseech- 
ing its forgiveness. "O bear!" she cried 
for all to hear, "O respected grandmother! 
You yourself saw that this was a stranger's 
doing. Believe not that Meshu-kwa is guilty 
of your death, or any of her tribe. It was 



2i8 FORT AMITY 

a stranger that disturbed your sleep, a 
stranger who fired upon you with this un- 
happy result ! " 

The men stood around patiently until this 
propitiation was ended ; and then fell to 
work to skin the bear, while Meshu-kwa 
went off with her daughters to the lodges, 
to prepare the cooking pots. In passing 
John she gave him a glance of no good will. 

That night, as Azoka stood by a cauldron 
in which the bear's fat bubbled, and the 
young men idled around the blaze, she saw 
Netawis draw Ononwe aside into the dark- 
ness. Being a quick-witted girl she promptly 
let slip her ladle into the fat, as if by mis- 
chance, and ran to her father's lodge for 
another, followed by Meshu-kwa's scolding 
voice. The lodge had a back-exit towards 
the wall of the sandhill, where the wind's 
eddy had swept a lane almost clear of snow ; 
and Azoka pushed her pretty head through 
the flap-way here in time to spy the dark 
shadows of the pair before they disappeared 
behind the bachelors' lodge. Quietly as a 
pantheress she stole after them, smoothing 
out her footprints behind her until she 
reached the trampled snow; and so, coming 
to the angle of the bachelors' lodge, cowered 
listening. 

'*But suppose that I had missed my shot?" 



NETAWIS 2J9 

said the voice of Netawis. ** I tell you that 
my heart was as wax ; and when the lock 
fell, I saw nothing. Why, what is the matter 
with you, Ononwe ? " 

"I thought you had led me here to quarrel 
with me," Ononwe answered slowly, and 
Azoka held her breath. 

''Quarrel, brother? Why should I quarrel 
with you? It was a risk, as I am telling 
you ; but you trusted me, and I brought you 
here to thank you that in your good heart 
you gave the shot up to me." 

"But it was not my good heart." Ononwe's 
voice had grown hoarse. "It was an evil 
thought in my head, and you will have to 
quarrel with me, Netawis." 

"That Ononwe is a good man," said 
Azoka to herself. 

" I do not understand. Did you expect 
me, then, to miss ? Do not say, brother, 
that you gave me the gun wishing me to 
miss and be the mock of the camp ! " 

"Yes, and no. I thought, if you took the 
gun, it would not matter whether you hit or 
missed." 

"Why?" 

"Are you so simple, Netawis? Or is it 
in revenge that you force me to tell ? . . . 
Yes, I have played you an evil trick, and by 
an evil tempting. I saw you with Azoka. . . . 



220 FORT AMITY 

I gave you the gun, thinking, ' If he misses, 
the whole camp will mock him, and a maid 
turns from a man whom others mock. But 
if he should kill the bear, he will have to 
reckon with Meshu-kwa. Meshu-kwa fears 
ill-luck, and she will think more than twice 
before receiving a son-in-law who has killed 
her grandmother the bear.' " 

'' I will marry Netawis," said Azoka to 
herself, shutting her teeth hard. And yet 
she could not feel angry with Ononwe as she 
ought. 

But it seemed that neither was Netawis 
angry ; for he answered with one of those 
strange laughs of his. She had never been 
able to understand them, but she had never 
heard one that sounded so unhappy as did 
this. 

''My brother," said Netawis — and his 
voice was gentle and bitterly sorrowful — "if 
you did this in guile, I have shot better in- 
deed than you to-day. As for Meshu-kwa, I 
must try to be on good terms with her again ; 
and as for Azoka, she is a good girl, and 
thinks as little of me as I of her. Last night 
when you saw us ... I remember that I 
looked down on her and something reminded 
me ... of one ..." He leaned a hand 
against a pole of the lodge and gripped it as 
the anguish came on him and shook him in 



NETAWIS 221 

the darkness. *' Damn ! " cried John a 
Cleeve, with a sob. 

''Was that her name?" asked Ononwe 
gravely, hardly concealing the relief in his 
voice. 

But Azoka did not hear Netawis' answer 
as she crept back, smoothing the snow over 
her traces. 



CHAPTER XIX 
THE LODGES IN THE SNOW 

THE fat lay six inches deep on the bear's 
ribs ; and, being boiled down, filled 
six porcupine skins. 

"Said I not that Netawis would bring us 
good luck?" demanded Menehwehna. 

But Meshu-kwa claimed the head of her 
ancestress, and set it up on a scaffold within 
the lodge, spreading a new blanket beneath 
it and strewing tobacco-leaf in front of its 
nose. As though poor Azoka had not 
enough misery, her mother took away her 
trinkets to decorate the bear, and forced her 
to smear her pretty, ochred face with cinders. 
Then for a whole day the whole family sat 
and fasted ; and Azoka hated fasting. But 
next morning she and Seeu-kwa swept out 
the lodge, making all tidy. Pipes were lit, 
and Menehwehna, after blowing tobacco- 
smoke into the bear's nostrils, began a long 
harangue on the sad necessity which lay upon 
men to destroy their best friends. His wife's 



THE LODGES IN THE SNOW 223 

eye being upon him, he made an excellent 
speech, though he did not believe a word of 
it ; but as a chief who had married the 
daughter of a chief, he laid great stress upon 
her pedigree, belittling his own descent from 
the ca7izcu, or war eagle, with the easier 
politeness because he knew it to be above 
reproach. When he had ended, the family, 
Meshu-kwa included, seated themselves and 
ate of the bear's flesh very heartily. 

A few days later, they struck their camp 
and moved inland, for the beaver were grow- 
ing scarcer, and the heavy fall of snow hid 
their houses and made it difficult to search 
the banks for washes. But raccoon were 
plentiful at their new station, and easy to 
hunt. Before the coming of the Cold Moon 
— which is January — John was set to number 
the peltries, which amounted to three hundred 
odd ; and the scaffold, on which the dried 
venison hung out of reach of the wolves, 
was a sight to gladden the heart. Only the 
women grumbled when Menehwehna gave 
order to strike camp, for theirs were the 
heaviest loads. 

Azoka did not grumble. She could count 
now on Ononwe to help her with her burden, 
since, like a sensible girl, she had long since 
made up her quarrel with him and they were 
to be married in the spring on their return to 



224 FORT AMITY 

the village. She had quite forgiven Netawis. 
Hers was that delicious stage of love when 
the heart, itself so happy, wants all the world 
to be happy too. Once or twice John caught 
her looking at him with eyes a little wistful 
in their gladness ; he never guessed that she 
had overheard his secret and pitied him, but 
dared not betray herself. Ononwe, possessed 
with his new felicity, delighted to talk of it 
whenever he and John hunted together. 

Did it hurt ? Not often ; and at the 
moment not much. But at night, when 
sleep would not come, when John lay staring 
at the chink in the doorway beyond which 
the northern lights flickered, then the wound 
would revive and ache with the aching 
silence. Once, only once, he had started 
out of sleep to feel his whole body flooded 
with happiness ; in his dream the curtains 
of the lodge had parted and through them 
Diane had come to him. Standing over his 
head she had shaken the snow from her 
cloak and from her hair, and the scattered 
flakes had changed into raindrops, and the 
raindrops into singing birds, and the lodge 
into a roof of sunlit boughs, breaking into 
leaf with a scent of English hawthorn, as 
she stretched out her hands and knelt and he 
drew her to his heart. Her cheek was cold 
from her long journey ; but a warm breeze 



THE LODGES IN THE SNOW 225 

played beneath the boughs, and under her 
falling hair against his shoulder her small 
hand stole up and touched his silver arm- 
lets. Nay, surely that touch was too real 
for any dream. . . . 

He had sprung up and pulled aside the 
curtain ; but she was gone. His eyes 
searched across a waste where only the snow- 
wraiths danced, and far to the north the 
Aurora flickered with ribbons of ghostly 
violet. 

Would she come again ? Yes, surely, 
under the stars and across the folds and 
hollows of the snow, that vision would 
return, disturbing no huddled bird, waking 
no sleeper in the lodge ; would lift the cur- 
tain and stretch out both hands and be 
gathered to him. Though it came but once 
in a year he could watch for it by night, live 
for it by day. 

But by day he knew his folly. He was 
lost, and in forgetting lay his only peace. 
He never once accused his fortune nor railed 
against a God he could not believe in. He 
had come to disaster through his own doubts ; 
himself had been the only real enemy, and 
that sorry self must be hidden and buried 
out of sight. 

On the whole he was burying it success- 
fully. He liked these Ojibways, and had 

Q 



226 FORT AMITY 

unlearnt his first disgust of their uncleanly 
habits, though as yet he could not imitate 
them. He had quite unlearnt his old loath- 
ing of Menehwehna for the sergeant's mur- 
der. Menehwehna was a fine fellow, a chief 
too, respected among all the nations west of 
Fort Niagara. John's surprise had begun at 
Fort Rouille, where, on Menehwehna's word 
of credit only, the Tobacco Indians had 
fetched out paint and clothes to disguise 
him, and had smuggled him, asking no 
questions, past the fort and up through 
the Lake aux Claies to Lake Huron. 
At Michilimackinac a single speech from 
Menehwehna had won his welcome from 
the tribe ; and they were hunting now on 
the borders of the Ottawas through the 
favour of Menehwehna's friendship with the 
Ottawa chief at I'Arbre Croche. John saw 
that the other Indians considered him for- 
tunate in Menehwehna's favour, and if he 
never understood the full extent of the con- 
descension, at least his respect grew for one 
who was at once so kingly and so simple, 
who shared his people's hardships, and was 
their master less by rank than by wisdom in 
council, skill of hand, and native power to 
impress and rule. 

Of the deer especially Menehwehna was 
a mighty hunter ; and in February the wealth 



THE LODGES IN THE SNOW 227 

of the camp increased at a surprising rate. 
For at this season the snow becomes hard 
enough to bear the hunter and his dogs, but 
the sharp feet of the deer break through 
its crust and his legs are cut to the bone. 
Often a hunting party would kill a dozen 
stags in two or three hours, and soon the 
camp reckoned up five thousand pounds of 
dried venison, all of which had to be carried 
back seventy miles to the shore of the lake 
near I'Arbre Croche, where the canoes had 
been left. 

Early in March the women began to pre- 
pare the bundles, and in the second week 
the return began, all starting at daybreak 
with as much as they could carry, and march- 
ing until noon, when they built a scaffold, 
piled their loads upon it, and returned to the 
camp for more. When all had been carried 
forward one stage, the lodge itself was re- 
moved, and so, stage by stage, they brought 
their wealth down to the coast. As they 
neared it they fell in with other lodges of 
Ojibways, mostly from Michilimackinac, 
gathering for the return voyage up the 
lake. 

Having recovered and launched their 
canoes, which had lain hidden among the 
sandhills, they loaded up and coasted cheer- 
fully homewards by way of La Grande 



228 FORT AMITY 

Traverse and I'Arbre Croche, and on the 
last day of April landed under the French 
fort of Mackinac, which looked across the 
strait to Cap Saint Ignace. A dozen traders 
were here awaiting them ; and with these 
Menehwehna first settled out of the common 
fund for guns, powder, and stores supplied 
on credit for the winter's hunting. He then 
shared the residue among the camp, each 
hunter receiving the portion fixed by custom; 
and John found himself the owner of one 
hundred and twenty beaver skins, fifty 
raccoon, and twelve otter, besides fifty du- 
bious francs in cash. The bear skin, which 
also fell to his share, he kept for his wedding 
gift to Ononwe. Twenty pounds of beaver 
bought a couple of new shirts ; another 
twenty a blanket ; and a handsome pair of 
scarlet mitases, fashionably laced with ribbon, 
cost him fifteen. Out of what remained he 
offered to pay Menehwehna for his first out- 
fit, but received answer that he had amply 
discharged this debt by bringing good luck 
to the camp. Under Menehwehna's advice, 
therefore, he spent his gains in powder and 
ball, fishing-lines, tobacco, and a new lock 
for his gun. 

"And I am glad," said Menehwehna, 
''that you consulted me to-day, for to-night 
I shall drink too much rum." " 



THE LODGES IN THE SNOW 229 

So indeed he did. That night his people 
— women and men — lay around the fort in 
shameless intoxication. It pleased John to 
observe that Azoka drank nothing; but on 
the other hand she made no attempt to re- 
strain her lover, who, having stupefied him- 
self with rum, dropped asleep with his head 
on her lap. 

John, seated and smoking his pipe by the 
camp fire, watched her across its blaze. She 
leaned back against a pole of the lodge, her 
hands resting on Ononwe's head, her eyes 
gazing out into the purple night beyond the 
doorway. They were solemn, with the awe 
of a deep happiness. ^^And why not?" 
John asked himself. Her father, mother, 
and kinsfolk lay drunk around her; even the 
children had taken their share of the liquor. 
A disgusting sight, no doubt ! yet somehow 
it did not move him to reprobation. He had 
lived for six months with this people, and 
they had taught him some lessons outside 
the craft of hunting : for example, that it 
takes all sorts to make a world, and that 
only a fool condemns his fellows for being 
unlike himself. At home in Devonshire he 
had never understood why the best farm- 
labourers and workmen broke out at times 
into reckless drinking, and lay sodden for 
days together ; or how their wives could 



230 FORT AMITY 

accept these outbursts as a matter of course. 
He understood now, having served apprentice 
to hardship, how the natural man must re- 
volt now and again from the penalty of 
Adam, the grinding toil, day in and day out, 
to wrest food from the earth for himself, his 
womenkind, and children. He understood, 
too, how noble is the discipline, though 
pardonable the revolt. He had discovered 
how little a man truly needs. He had seen 
in this strange life much cruelty, much crazy 
superstition, much dirt and senseless discom- 
fort ; but he had made acquaintance with 
love and self-denial. He had learnt, above 
all, the great lesson — to think twice before 
judging, and thrice before condemning. 

The camp fire was dying down untended. 
He arose and cast an armful of logs upon it; 
and at the sound Azoka withdrew her eyes 
from the doorway and fastened them upon 
him. 

"Netawis," said she, ''when will you be 
leaving us ? " 

" I have no thought of leaving." 
" You are not telling me the truth, now." 
''Indeed, I believe I am," John assured 
her. 

"But what, then, of the girl yonder, 
whom you wanted to marry? Has she 
married another man, or is she dead? Yes, 



THE LODGES IN THE SNOW 231 

I know something about it," Azoka went 
on, as he stood staring amazedly. "For 
a long time I have wanted to tell you. That 
night, after you had killed the bear and 
Ononwe took you aside — I was afraid that 
you two would be quarrelling, and so I crept 
after you ■' She waited for him to under- 
stand. 

" I see," said John gravely. 

"Tell me what has become of her." 

" I suppose that she is living still with her 
own people ; and there is nothing more to 
tell, Azoka, except that she cannot be mine, 
and would not if she could." 

"Whose fault was it, Netawis ? Yours 
or hers ? " 

"There was much fault indeed, and all 
of it mine ; but against my marrying her it 
did not count, for that was impossible from 
the beginning. Suppose, now, your nation 
were at war with the Ottawas, and a young 
Ottawa brave fell in love with you. What 
would you do?" 

"That is idle talk, for of course I should 
do nothing," said Azoka composedly. "But 
if I were a man and fell in love with an 
Ottawa maiden, it would be simple. I should 
carry her off." 

John, being unable to find an answer to 
this, lit his pipe and sat staring into the fire. 



232 FORT AMITY 

*'Was she an Englishwoman then?" Azoka 
asked after a while. 

''An Englishwoman?" He looked up in 
surprise ; then, with a glance around at the 
sleepers, he leaned forward until his eyes 
met the girl's at close range across the flame. 
"Since you have learnt one secret, Azoka, 
I will tell you another. She was a French- 
woman, and it is I who am English." 

But Azoka kept her composure. "My 
father is always wise," she said quietly. "If 
he had told the truth, you would have been 
in great danger ; for many had lost sons and 
brothers in the fighting, and those who came 
back were full of revenge. You heard their 
talk." 

"Then you have only to tell them, Azoka, 
and they may take their revenge. I shall 
not greatly care." 

"I am no babbler, Netawis ; and, more- 
over, the men have put their revenge away. 
When the summer comes very few will want 
to go fighting. For my part I pay little 
heed to their talk of killing and scalping ; 
to me it is all boys' play, and I do not want 
to understand it. But from what I hear they 
think that the Englishmen will be victorious, 
and it is foolishness to fight on the losing 

side. If so " Azoka broke off and pressed 

her palms together in sudden delight. 



THE LODGES IN THE SNOW 233 

*' If so ? " echoed John. 

''If the English win, why then you may 
carry off your Frenchwoman, Netawis! I do 
very much want you to be happy." 

*'And I thank you a thousand times, 
Azoka, for your good wishes ; but I fear it 
will not happen in that way." 

She smoothed the head of Ononwe in her 
lap. "Oh yes, it will," she assured him. 
"My father told me that you would be 
leaving us, some day ; and now I know what 
he meant. He has seen her, has he not? " 

" He has seen her." 

" My father is never mistaken. You will 
go back when the time comes, and take her 
captive. But bring her back that I may see 
her, Netawis." 

" But if she should resist? " 

Azoka shook her pretty head. "You 
men never understand us. She will not 
resist when once you have married her ; and 
I do very much want you to be happy." 

For three days the Ojibways sprawled in 
drunkenness around Fort Mackinac, but on 
the fourth arose and departed for their island ; 
very sullenly at first, as they launched their 
canoes, but with rising spirits as they neared 
home. And two days after their arrival 
Ononwe and Azoka were married. 

In the midst of the marriage feast, which 



234 FORT AMITY 

lasted a week, the great thaw began ; and 
thereafter for a month Menehwehna watched 
John closely. But the spring-time could not 
thaw the resolve which had been hardening 
John's heart all the winter — to live out his 
life in the wilderness and, when his time 
came, to die there a forgotten man. He 
wondered now that he had ever besought 
Menehwehna for help to return. Although 
it could never be proved against him, he 
must acknowledge to himself that he, a 
British officer, was now in truth a willing 
deserter. But to be a deserter he found 
more tolerable than to return at the price 
of private shame. 

Menehwehna, cheated of his fears, watched 
him with a new and growing hope. The 
snows melted ; May came with its flowers, 
June with its heat, July with the roaring of 
bucks in the forest ; and still the men hung 
about the village, fishing and shooting, or 
making short excursions to Sault Saint Marie 
or the bay of Boutchitouay, or the mouth of 
the Mississaki river on the north side of the 
lake (where the wildfowl were plentiful), but 
showing no disposition to go out again upon 
the war path as they had gone the year 
before. The frenzy which then had carried 
them hundreds of miles from their homes 
seemed now to be entirely spent, and the 



THE LODGES IN THE SNOW 235 

war itself to have faded far away. Once or 
twice a French officer from Fort Mackinac 
was paddled across and landed and ha- 
rangued the Indians ; and the Indians 
listened attentively, but never stirred. Of 
the French soldiers drilling at the fort they 
spoke now with contempt. 

John saw no reason for this change, and 
set it down to that flightiness of purpose 
which — as he had read in books — is common 
to all savages. He had yet to learn that in 
solitary lands the very sky becomes as it 
w^ere a vast sounding-board, and rumour 
travels, no man knows how. 

It was on his return from the Isles aux 
Castors, where with two score young men of 
his tribe he had spent three weeks in fishing 
for sturgeon, that he heard of the capture of 
Fort Niagara by the English. Azoka an- 
nounced it to him. 

*'Said I not how it would happen?" she 
reminded him. '' But if you leave us now, 
you must come back with her and see my 
boy. When he comes to be born he shall be 
called Netawis. Ononwe and I are agreed 
on it." 

**I have no thought of leaving," John 
answered. '' Fort Niagara is far from "here." 

'' They say also," Menehwehna announced 
later, ''that Stadacona has fallen." 



236 FORT AMITY 

^'Stadacona?" 

'* The great fortress — Quebec." 
John mused for a while. '' I had a dear 
friend once," he said, -''and he laid me a 
wager that he would enter Quebec before 
me. It appears that he has won." 
'' A friend, did my brother say ? " 
"And a kinsman," John answered, recog- 
nising the old note of jealousy in Meneh- 
wehna's voice. ''But there's no likeness 
between us ; for he is one that always goes 
straight to his mark." 

''There was a name brought me with the 
news. Your chief was the Wolf, they said ; 
but whether it be his own name or that of 
his manitoic, I know not." 



CHAPTER XX 
THE REVEILLE 

A BAND of five-and-twenty Ojibways 
came filing down through the woods to 
the shore of Lake Ontario, at the point where 
the City of Toronto now stands. Back 
beyond the Lake aux Claies they had passed 
many lodges inhabited by women and chil- 
dren only, and had heard everywhere the 
same story : the men were all gone southward 
to Fort Niagara to take counsel with the 
English. This, too, was the goal of the 
Ojibways' journey, and Menehwehna hurried 
them forward. 

Fort Rouill^ by the waterside stood de- 
serted and half ruined. They had hoped to 
find canoes here to carry them across the 
lake to Niagara ; but here, too, all the male 
population had stampeded a week ago for 
the south, and those who wanted canoes 
must make them. This meant two days' 
delay, but it could not be helped. They fell 
to work at once, cutting down elm-trees by 

237 



238 FORT AMITY 

the shore and stripping off their bark, while 
the children gathered from the lodges and 
stood at a little distance, watching. 

It was by no desire of his own that John 
made one of the embassage. As rumour 
after rumour of British successes came west- 
ward to Michilimackinac, and the Indians 
held long and anxious councils, he had grown 
aware that Menehwehna was watching him 
furtively, as if for a sign which could not be 
demanded in words. 

" Menehwehna," said he at length, "what 
is all this talk of English vengeance ? It is 
not the way of my countrymen to remember 
wrongs after they have won the battle." 

'' But who will assure my people of that?" 
asked Menehwehna. "They have heard that 
certain things were done in the south, and 
that toll will be taken." 

"What matters that to your people, though 
it be true ? They were not at Fort William 
Henry." 

" But again, how shall they tell this to the 
English and hope to be believed ? " 

"You cannot hide your heart from me, 
Menehwehna. You wish two things of me, 
and the first is my leave to tell your people 
that I am English." 

"Without your leave I will never tell them, 
my brother." 



THE REVEILLE 239 

** Did I ever suppose that you would? 
Well, as soon as you have told them, they 
will clamour for me to go to Fort Niagara, 
and at need to entreat for them. Now I say 
that there will be no need ; but they will 
compel me to go, and you too will wish it. 
Have I not guessed ? " 

Menehwehna was silent a while. " For 
my people I wish it," he said at length ; 
*^but for my own part I fear more than I 
wish. 

'*You fear it because I go into great 
danger. By my countrymen I shall be rightly 
held a deserter ; and, among them, for an 
officer to desert is above all things shameful." 

''But," answered Menehwehna with a 
cheerful readiness which proved that he had 
thought the matter out, ''if, as you say, the 
Governor receive us kindly, we will hide that 
you are English ; to that every man shall 
give his oath beforehand. If things go ill, 
we will hand you back as our prisoner and 
prove that we have kept you against your 
will. 

John shook his head, but did not utter the 
firm resolve of his heart — that even from 
ignominy no such lies should save him while 
he had a gun to turn against himself. 
"Why do you fear then, Menehwehna," he 
demanded, " if not for me ? " 



240 FORT AMITY 

** Do not ask, my brother ! " Meneh- 
wehna's voice was troubled, constrained, and 
his eyes avoided John's. 

**Ah, well," said John lightly, after re- 
garding him for a moment, '' to you at least 
I will pay some of my debt. Go and tell 
your people that I am English ; and add — 
for it will save talk — that I am ready to go 
with them to Fort Niagara." 



By dawn on the third day at Fort Rouill6 
three canoes lay finished and ready, each 
capable of carrying eight or nine men. Push- 
ing off from the Toronto shore, the embas- 
sage paddled southward across the lake. 

They came late that evening to a point of 
land four miles from Niagara, on the north 
side of the river mouth. Approaching it, 
they discerned many clusters of Indian en- 
campments, each sending up its thin column 
of smoke against the sunset-darkened woods : 
but night had fallen long before they beached 
their canoes, and for the last three miles 
they paddled wide of the shore to skirt a fleet 
of fishing-boats twinkling with flambeaux, 
from the rays of which voices challenged 
them. The Ojibways answered with their 
own call and were made welcome. A 
common fear, it seemed, lay over all the 



THE REVEILLE 241 

nations — Wyandots and Attiwandaronks 
from the west and north of Lake Erie, 
Nettaways and Tobacco Indians from around 
Nottawasaga Bay, Ottawas and Pottawata- 
mies from the far west — who had not yet 
made their peace with the EngHsh. But 
Menehwehna, whose fear of arriving too 
late had kept him anxious throughout the 
voyage, grew cheerful again. 

They landed and pitched their camp on 
a spit of land close beside their old friend 
the Ottawa chief from L'Arbe Croche, to 
whose lodge Menehwehna at once betook 
himself to learn the news. But John, weary 
with the day's toil, threw himself down and 
slept. 

A touch on his shoulder awakened him at 
dawn, and he opened his eyes to see Meneh- 
wehna standing above him, gun in hand and 
dressed for an expedition. 

''Come," commanded Menehwehna, add- 
ing, as John's gaze travelled around upon 
the sleepers, ''We two, alone." 

John caught up his gun, and the pair 
stepped out into the dawn together. An 
Indian path led through the forest to the 
southward, and Menehwehna took it, walk- 
ing ahead and rapidly. Twice he turned 
about and looked John in the face with a 
searching gaze, but held on his way again 

R 



242 FORT AMITY 

without speaking. They walked in a dawn 
which as yet resembled night rather than 
day ; a night grown diaphanous and ghost- 
like, a summer night surprised in its sleep 
and vanishing before their footfall. The 
flicker of fire-flies hurrying into deeper 
shades seemed, by a trick of eyesight, to 
pass into the glint of dew. The birds had 
not yet broken into singing, the shadows 
stirred with whispers, as though their broods 
of winged and creeping things held breath 
together in alarm. A thin mist drifted 
through the undergrowth, muffling the roar 
of distant waters ; and at intervals the path 
led across a clearing where, between the 
pine-trunks to the left, the lake itself came 
into view, with clouds of vapour heaving on 
its bosom. 

These clearings grew more frequent until 
at length Menehwehna halted on the edge of 
one which sloped straight from his feet to a 
broad and rushing river. There, stepping 
aside, he watched John's eyes as they fell 
on Fort Niagara. 

It stood over the angle where the river 
swept into the lake ; its stone walls terraced 
high upon earthworks rising from the water- 
side, its towers already bathed in sunlight, 
its foundations standing in cool shadow. 
Eyes no doubt were watching the dawn from 



THE REVEILLE 243 

its ramparts ; but no sign of life appeared 
there. It seemed to sleep with the forests 
around it, its river gate shut close-lidded 
against the day, its empty flagstaff a needle 
of gold trembling upon the morning sky. 

Menehwehna had seated himself, his gun 
across his knees, upon a fallen trunk ; and 
John, turning, met his eyes. 

*' Do we cross over? " 

*' To-day, or perhaps to-morrow. I wished 
you to see it first." 

** But why?" 

" Does my brother ask why? Well, then, 
I was afraid." 

**Were you afraid that I might wish to 
go back ? Answer me, Menehwehna — By 
whose wish am I here at all ? " 

''When I was a young man," answered 
Menehwehna, "in the days when I went 
wooing after Meshu-kwa, I would often be 
jealous, and this jealousy would seize me 
when we were alone together. ' She is 
loving enough now,' I said; 'but how will 
it be when other young men are around 
her?' This thought tormented me so that 
many times it drove me to prove her, pre- 
tending to be cold and purposely throwing 
her in the company of others who were glad 
enough — for she had many suitors. Then I 
would watch with pain in my heart, but 



244 FORT AMITY 

secretly, that my shame and rage might be 
hidden." 

John eyed him for a moment in wonder. 
^'For what did you bring me this long way 
from Michilimackinac?" he asked. "Was 
it not to speak at need for you and your 
nation ? " 

*' For that, but not for that only. Brother, 
have you never loved a friend so that you 
felt his friendship worthless to you unless 
you owned it all? Have you never felt the 
need on you to test him, though the test lay 
a hundred leagues away? So far have I 
brought you, O Netawis, to show you your 
countrymen. In a while the fort yonder will 
wake, and you shall see them on the walls in 
their red coats, and if the longing come upon 
you to return to them, we will cross over to- 
gether and I will tell my tale. They will 
believe it. Look ! Will you be an Eng- 
lishman again?" 

" Let us turn back," answered John 
wearily. "That life is gone from me for 
ever. 

"Say to me that you have no wish to go." 

"I had a wish once," said John, letting 
the words fall slowly as his eyes travelled 
over the walls of the fort. "It seemed to 
me then that no wish on earth could be 
dearer. Many things have helped to kill it. 



THE REVEILLE 245 

I think." He passed a hand over his eyes 
and let it drop by his side. "I have no 
wish to leave you, Menehwehna." 

The Indian stood up with a short cry of 
joy and laid a hand on his shoulder. 

''No, my friend," John continued in the 
same dull voice; "I will say to you only 
what is honest. If I return with you, it is 
not for your sake." 

" So that you return, Netawis, I will have 
patience. There was a time when you set 
your face against me ; and this I overcame. 
Again there was a time when you pleaded 
with me that I should let you escape ; and 
still I waited, though with so small a hope 
that when my child Azoka began to listen 
for your step I scolded her out of her folly." 

" In that you did wisely, Menehwehna. 
It is not everything that I have learned to 
forget." 

"I told her," said Menehwehna simply, 
"that, as the snow melts and slides from the 
face of a rock, so one day all thought of us 
would slip from your heart and you would 
go from us, not once looking back. Even 
so I believed. But the spring came, and the 
summer, and I began to doubt ; and, as I 
questioned you, a hope grew in my heart, 
and I played with it as a dog plays with her 
pups, trying its powers little by little, yet 



246 FORT AMITY 

still in play, until a day came when I dis- 
covered it to be strong and the master of 
me. Then indeed, my brother, I could not 
rest until I had put it to this proof." He 
lit his pipe solemnly, drew a puff or two and 
handed it to John. '' Let us smoke together 
before we turn back. He that has a friend 
as well as wife and children needs not fear to 
grow old." 

John stretched out a hand and touched 
the earthen pipe bowl. His fingers closed 
on it — but only to let it slip. .It fell, struck 
against the edge of the tree stump and was 
shivered in pieces. 

Across the valley in Fort Niagara the 
British drums were sounding the reveille. 

He did not hear Menehwehna's voice 
lamenting the broken pipe. He stood star- 
ing across at the fort. He saw the river- 
gate open, the red-coats moving there, re- 
lieving guard. He saw the flagstaff halliards 
shake out the red cross of England in the 
morning sunlight. And still, like a river, 
rolled the music of British drums. 

'^Netawis!" 

Menehwehna touched his arm. At first 
John did not seem to hear, then his hand 
went up and began to unfasten the silver 
armlets there. 

" Netawis ! O my brother ! " 



THE REVEILLE 247 

But the ice had slipped from the rock and 
lay around its base in ruin, and the music 
which had loosened it still sang across the 
valley. He took a step down the slope 
towards it. 

'' You shall not go ! " cried Menehwehna, 
and lifting his gun pointed it full at John's 
back. And John knew that Menehwehna's 
finger was on the trigger. He walked on 
un regarding. 

But Menehwehna did not fire. He cast 
down his gun with a cry and ran to clasp his 
friend's feet. What was he saying? Some- 
thing about ''two years." 

**Two years?" Had they passed so 
quickly ? God ! how long the minutes were 
now ! He must win across before the drums 
ceased . . . 

He halted and began to talk to Meneh- 
wehna very patiently, this being the easiest 
way to get rid of him. "Yes, yes," he 
heard himself saying, "I go to them as an 
Indian and they will not know me. I shall 
be safe. Return now back to my brothers 
and tell them that, if need be, they will find 
me there and I will speak for them." 

And his words must have prevailed, for he 
stood by the river's edge alone, and Meneh- 
wehna was striding back towards the wood. 
A boat lay chained by the farther shore and 



248 FORT AMITY 

two soldiers came down from the fort and 
pushed across to him. 

They wore the uniform of the Forty-sixth, 
and one had been a private in his company ; 
but they did not recognise him. And he 
spoke to them in the Ojibway speech, which 
they could not understand. 

From the edge of the woods Menehwehna 
watched the three as they landed. They 
climbed the slope and passed into the fort. 



CHAPTER XXI 
FORT AMITIE LEARNS ITS FATE 

THAT Spring, three British generals sat 
at the three gates of Canada, waiting 
for the signal to enter and end the last 
agony of New France. But the snows 
melted, the days lengthened, and still the 
signal did not come ; for the general by the 
sea gate was himself besieged. 

Through the winter he and his small army 
sat patiently in the city they had ruined. 
Conquerors in lands more southerly may 
bury their dead with speed, rebuild captured 
walls, set up a pillar and statue of Victory, 
and in a month or two, the green grass help- 
ing them, forget all but the glory of the 
battle. But here in the north the same hand 
arrests them and for six months petrifies the 
memorials of their rage. Until the Spring 
dissolves it, the image of war lives face to 
face with them, white, with frozen eyes, 
sparing them only the colour of its wounds. 

General Murray, like many a soldier in 
249 



250 P^ORT AMITY 

his army, had dreams of emulating Wolfe's 
glory. But Wolfe had snatched victory out 
of the shadow of coming winter ; and, almost 
before Murray's army could cut wood for 
fuel, the cold was upon them. For two 
months Quebec had been pounded with shot 
and shell. Her churches and hospitals stood 
roofless ; hundreds of houses had been fired, 
vaults and storehouses pillaged, doors and 
windows riddled everywhere. There was no 
digging entrenchments in the frozen earth. 
Walls six feet thick had been breached by 
artillery ; and the loose stones, so cold they 
were, could hardly be handled. 

Among these ruins, on the frozen cliff 
over the frozen river, Murray and his seven 
thousand men settled down to wear the 
winter through. They w^ere short of food, 
short of fuel. Frost-bite maimed them at 
first ; then scurvy, dysentery, fever, began 
to kill. They laid their dead out on the 
snow, to be buried when spring should return 
and thaw the earth ; and by the end of April 
their dead numbered six hundred and fifty. 
Yet they kept up their spirits. Early in 
November there had been rumours that the 
French under Levis meant to march on the 
city and retake it. In December deserters 
brought word that he was on his way — that 
he would storm the city on the twenty- 



I 



FORT AMITIE LEARNS ITS FATE 251 

second, and dine within the citadel on Christ- 
mas Day. In January news arrived that he 
was preparing scaling-ladders and training 
his men in the use of them. Still the days 
dragged by. The ice on the river began to 
break up and swirl past the ramparts on the 
tides. The end of April came, and with it 
a furious midnight storm, and out of the 
storm a feeble cry — the voice of a half-dead 
Frenchman clinging to a floe of ice far out 
on the river. He was rescued, placed in a 
hammock, and carried up Mountain Street 
to the General's quarters ; and Murray, 
roused from sleep at three o'clock in the 
morning, listened to his story. He was an 
artillery-sergeant of Levis' army ; and that 
army, twelve thousand strong, was close to 
the gates of Quebec. 

The storm had fallen to a cold drizde of 
rain when at dawn Murray's troops issued 
from the St. Louis gate and dragged their 
guns out through the slush of the St. Foy 
road. On the ground where Wolfe had 
given battle, or hard by, they unlimbered in 
face of the enemy and opened fire. Two 
hours later, outflanked by numbers, having 
lost a third of their three thousand in the 
short fight, they fell back on the battered 
walls they had mistrusted. For a few hours 
the fate of Quebec hung on a hair. But the 



252 FORT AMITY 

garrison could build now ; and, while Levis 
dragged up his guns from the river, the 
English worked like demons. They had 
guns, at any rate, in plenty ; and, while the 
French dug and entrenched themselves on 
the ground they had won, daily the breaches 
closed and the English fire grew hotter. 

April gave place to May, and the artillery 
fire continued on the heights ; but as it grew 
noisier it grew also less important, for now 
the eyes of both commanders were fastened 
on the river. Two fleets were racing for 
Quebec, and she would belong to the first 
to drop anchor within her now navigable 
river. 

Then came a day when, as Murray sat 
brooding by the fire in his quarters in St. Louis 
Street, an officer ran in with the news of a ship 
of war in the Basin, beating up towards the 
city. "Whatever she is," said the General, 
'Sve will hoist our colours." Weather had 
frayed out the halliards on the flagstaff over 
Cape Diamond, but a sailor climbed the pole 
and lashed the flag of St. George beneath 
the truck. By this time men and officers in 
a mob had gathered on the ramparts of the 
Chateau St. Louis, all straining their eyes at 
a frigate fetching up close-hauled against the 
wind. 

Her colours ran aloft; but they were bent, 



FORT AMITIE LEARNS ITS FATE 253 

sailor-fashion, in a tight bundle, ready to be 
broken out when they reached the top- 
gallant masthead. 

An officer, looking through a glass, cried 
out nervously that the bundle was white. 
But this they knew without telling. Only — 
what would the flag carry on its white 
ground ? The red cross ? or the golden 
fleurs-de-lys ? 

The halliards shook ; the folds flew broad 
to the wind ; and, with a gasp, men leaped 
on the ramparts — flung their hats in the air 
and cheered — dropped, sobbing, on their 
knees. 

It was the red cross of England. 
They were cheering yet and shouting them- 
selves hoarse when the Lowestoffe frigate 
dropped anchor and saluted with all her 
twenty-four guns. On the heights the 
French guns answered spitefully. Levis 
would not believe. He had brought his 
artillery at length into position, and began 
to knock the defences vigorously. He 
lingered until the battleship Vanguard and 
the frigate Diane came sailing up into 
harbour ; until the Vanguard, pressing 
on with the Lotvestoffe, took or burned the 
vessels which had brought his artillery down 
from Montreal. Then, in the night, he de- 
camped, leaving his siege-train, baggage, 



254 FORT AMITY 

and sick men behind him. News of his 
retreat reached Murray at nightfall, and soon 
the English guns were bowling round-shot 
after him in the dusk across the Plains of 
Abraham ; but by daybreak, when Murray 
pushed out after him, to fall on his rear, he 
had hurried his columns out of reach. 

Three months had passed since the flying 
of the signal from the Lowestoffe^ and now in 
the early days of August three British armies 
were moving slowly upon Montreal, where 
Levis and Governor Vaudreuil had drawn the 
main French forces together for a last re- 
sistance. 

Murray came up the river from Quebec 
with twenty-four hundred men, in thirty-two 
vessels and a fleet of boats in company ; 
followed by Lord Rollo with thirteen hun- 
dred men drawn off from dismantled Louis- 
bourg. As the ships tacked up the river, 
with their floating batteries ranged in line to 
protect the advance, bodies of French troops 
followed them along the shore — regiments of 
white-coated infantry and horsemen in blue 
jackets faced with scarlet. Bourlamaque 
watched from the southern shore, Dumas 
from the northern. But neither dared to 
attack ; and day after day through the 
lovely weather, past fields and settlements 



FORT AMITIE LEARNS ITS FATE 255 

and woodlands, between banks which nar- 
rowed until from deck one could listen to 
the song of birds on either hand and catch 
the wafted scent of wild flowers, the British 
wound their way to Isle Sainte-Therese 
below Montreal, encamped, and waited for 
their comrades. 

From the south came Haviland. He 
brought thirty-four hundred regulars, pro- 
vincials, and Indians from Crown Point on 
Lake Champlain, and moved down the 
Richelieu, driving Bougainville before him. 

Last, descending from the west by the 
gate of the Great Lakes, came the Com- 
mander-in-Chief, the cautious Amherst, with 
eighteen hundred soldiers and Indians and 
over eight hundred batteaux and whale-boats. 
He had gathered them at Oswego in July, 
and now in the second week of August had 
crossed the lake to its outlet, threaded the 
channels of the Thousand Islands, and was 
bearing down on the broad river towards 
Fort Amitie. 

And how did it stand with Fort Amitie? 

Well, to begin with, the Commandant was 
thoroughly perplexed. The British must be 
near ; by latest reports they had reached the 
Thousand Islands ; even hours were be- 
coming precious, and yet most unaccount- 
ably the reinforcements had not arrived ! 



256 FORT AMITY 

What could M. de Vaudreuil be dreaming 
of? Already the great Indian leader, Saint 
Luc de la Corne, had reached Coteau du 
Lac with a strong force of militia. Domi- 
nique Guyon had been sent down with an 
urgent message of inquiry. But what had 
been La Corne's answer? "I know not 
what M. de Vaudreuil intends. My business 
is to stay here and watch the rapids." 

"Now what can be the meaning of that?" 
the Commandant demanded of his brother. 

M. Etienne shook his head pensively. 
^^Rnsticits expectat ... I should have sup- 
posed the rapids to stand in no danger." 

*' Had the Governor sent word to abandon 
the Fort, I might have understood. It would 
have been the bitterest blow of my life " 

'*Yes, yes, brother," M. Etienne mur- 
mured in sympathy. 

''But to leave us here without a word! 
No ; it is impossible. They ratist be on 
their way ! " 

In the strength of this confidence Domi- 
nique and Bateese had been despatched 
down the river again to meet the reinforce- 
ments and hurry them forward. 

Dominique and Bateese had been absent 
for a week now on this errand. Still no relief- 
boats hove in sight, and the British were 
coming down through the Thousand Islands. 



FORT AMITIE LEARNS ITS FATE 257 

Save in one respect the appearance of the 
Fort had not changed since the evening of 
John a Cleeve's dismissal. The garrison 
cows still grazed along the river-bank, and 
in the clearing under the eastern wall the 
Indian corn was ripe for harvest (M. Etienne 
suggested reaping it ; the labour, he urged, 
would soothe every one's nerves). Only on 
Sans Quartier's cabbage-patch the lunette 
now stood complete. All the habitants of 
Boisveyrac had been brought up to labour 
in its erection, building it to the height of 
ten feet, with an abattis of trees in front and 
a raised platform within for the riflemen. 
Day after day the garrison manned it and 
burned powder in defence against imaginary 
assaults, and by this time the Commandant 
and Sergeant Bedard between them had dis- 
cussed and provided against every possible 
mode of attack. 

Diane stood in the dawn on the ten-e-plein 
of the river-wall. The latest news of the 
British had arrived but a few hours since, 
with a boatload of fugitives from the up- 
stream mission-house of La Galette, off 
which an armed brig lay moored with ten 
cannon and one hundred men to check the 
advance of the flotilla. It could do no more. 

The fugitives included Father Launoy, and 
s 



258 FORT AMITY 

he had landed and begged Diane to take his 
place in the crowded boat. For himself (he 
said) he would stay and help to serve out 
ammunition to Fort Amitie — that was, if the 
Commandant meant to resist. 

"Do you suppose, then, that I would 
retire?" the Commandant asked with in- 
dignation. 

*'It may be possible to do neither," sug- 
gested Father Launoy. 

But this the Commandant could by no 
means understand. It seemed to him that 
either he must be losing his wits or the 
whole of New France, from M. de Vaudreuil 
down, was banded in a league of folly. 
"Resist? Of course I shall resist! My 
men are few enough, Fathef- ; but I beg you 
to dismiss the notion that Fort Amitie is 
garrisoned by cowards." 

"I will stay with you then," said the 
Jesuit. "I may be useful, in many ways. 
But mademoiselle will take my place in the 
boat and escape to Montreal." 

" I also stay," answered Diane simply. 

" Excuse me, but there is like to be serious 
work. They bring the Iroquois with them, 
besides Indians from the West." Father 
Launoy spoke as one reasoning with a child. 

Diane drew a small pistol from her bodice. 
" I have thought of that, you see." 



FORT AMITIE LEARNS ITS FATE 259 

"But M. de Noel " He swung 

round upon the Commandant, expostu- 
lating. 

"In a few hours," said the Commandant, 
meeting his eyes with a smile, " New France 
will have ceased to be. I have no authority 
to force my child to endure what I cannot 
endure myself. She has claimed a promise 
of me, and I have given it." 

The priest stepped back a pace, wonder- 
ing. Swiftly before him passed a vision of 
the Intendant's palace at Quebec, with its 
women and riot and rottenness. His hand 
went up to his eyes, and under the shade of 
it he looked upon father and daughter — this 
pair of the old noblesse^ clean, comely, ready 
for the sacrfice. What had New France 
done for these that they were cheerful to die 
for her? She had doled them out poverty, 
and now, in the end, betrayal ; she had 
neglected her children for aliens, she had 
taken their revenues to feed extortioners 
and wantons, and now in the supreme act 
of treachery, herself falling with them, she 
turned too late to read in their eyes a divine 
and damning love. There all the while she 
had lived — the true New France, loyally 
trusted, innocently worshipped. " Blessed 
are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." 
. . . Father Launoy lowered his gaze to the 



26o FORT AMITY 

floor. He had looked and learned why some 
nations fall and others worthily endure. 

All that night the garrison had slept by 
their arms, until with the first streak of day 
the drums called them out to their alarm- 
post. 

Diane 'vstood on the teri'e-plein watching 
the sunrise. As yet the river lay indistinct, 
a broad wan-coloured band of light stretch- 
ing away across the darkness. The outwork 
on the slope beneath her was a formless 
shadow astir with smaller shadows equally 
formless. She heard the tread of feet on the 
wooden platform, the clink of side-arms and 
accoutrements, the soft thud of ramrods, the 
voice of old Bddard, peevish and grumbling 
as usual. 

Her face, turned to the revealing dawn, 
was like and yet curiously unlike the face 
into which John a Cleeve had looked and 
taken his dismissal ; a woman's face now, 
serener than of old and thoughtfuller. These 
two years had lengthened it to a perfect 
oval, adding a touch of strength to the brow, 
a touch of decision to the chin ; and, lest 
these should overweight it, had removed from 
the eyes their clouded trouble and left them 
clear to the depths. The elfin Diane, the 
small woodland-haunted Indian, no longer 
looked forth from those windows ; no search 



FORT AMITIE LEARNS ITS FATE 261 

might find her captive shadow behind them. 
She had died young, or had faded away 
perhaps and escaped back to her native 
forests. 

But she is not all forgotten, this lost play- 
mate. Some trick of gesture reappears as 
Diane lifts her face suddenly towards the 
flagstaff tower. The watchman there has 
spied something on the river, and is shout- 
ing the news from the summit. 

His arm points down the river. What 
has he seen? *' Canoes ! " — the relief is at 
hand then ! No : there is only one canoe. 
It comes swiftly and yet the day overtakes 
and passes it, spreading a causeway of light 
along which it shoots to the landing-quay. 

Two men paddle it — Dominique and 
Bateese Guyon. Their faces are haggard, 
their eyes glassy with want of sleep, their 
limbs so stiff that they have to be helped 
ashore. 

The Commandant steps forward. "What 
news, my children ? " he asks. His voice is 
studiously cheerful. 

Dominique shakes his head. 

"There is no relief, Monseigneur." 

" You have met none, you mean ? " 

" None is coming, Monseigneur. We have 
heard it in Montreal." 



CHAPTER XXII 
DOMINIQUE 

MONTREAL?" 
While they stood wondering, a dull 
wave of sound broke on their ears from the 
westward, and another, and yet another — the 
booming of cannon far up the river. 

**That will be at La Galette," said the 
Commandant, answering the question in 
Dominique's eyes. *'Come up to your 
quarters, my children, and get some sleep. 
We have work before us." He motioned 
the others to fall back out of hearing while 
he and Dominique mounted the slope to- 
gether. ^'You had audience, then, of the 
Governor?" he asked. 

'* He declined to see us, Monseigneur, 
and I do not blame him, since he could not 
send us back telling you to fight. Doubtless 
it does not become one in M. de Vaudreuil's 
position to advise the other thing — aloud." 

'' I do not understand you. Why could 
not M. de Vaudreuil order me to fight? " 

262 



DOMINIQUE 263 

Dominique stared at his master. **Why, 
Monseigneur, — seeing that he sends no 
troops, it would be a queer message. He 
could not have the face." 

^'Yet he must be intending to strike at 
the English coming from Quebec ? " 

''They are already arrived and encamped 
at Isle Sainte-Therese below the city, and 
another army has come down the Richelieu 
from the south and joined them." 

''It is clear as daylight. M. de Vaudreuil 
must be meaning to attack them instantly, 
and therefore he cannot spare a detachment 
— You follow me ? " 

" It may be so, Monseigneur," Dominique 
assented doubtfully. 

'' ' May be so ' ! It must be so ! But un- 
happily he does not know of this third army 
descending upon him ; or, rather, he does 
not know how near it is. Yet, to win time 
for him, we must hold up this army at all 
costs." 

"It is I, Monseigneur, who am puzzled. 
You cannot be intending " 

" Eh ? Speak it out, man ! " 

"You cannot be intending to await these 
English ! " 

"Name of thunder! What else do you 
suppose? Pray, my dear Dominique, use 
your wits. We have to gain time, I tell 



264 FORT AMITY 

you — time for our friends below at Mon- 
treal." 

''With twenty odd men against as many 
hundreds? Oh, pardon me, Monseigneur, 
but I cannot bring my mind to understand 
you." 

'' But since it gains time " 

"They will not stay to snap up such a 
mouthful. They will sail past your guns, 
laughing; unless — great God, Monseigneur! 
If in truth you intend this folly, where is 
Mademoiselle Diane? I did not see her in 
any of the boats from La Galette. Whither 
have you sent her, and in whose charge ? " 

''She is yonder on the wall, looking down 
on us. She will stay ; I have given her my 
promise." 

Dominique came to a halt, white as a 
ghost. His tongue touched his dry lips. 
"Monseigneur! " — the cry broke from him, 
and he put out a hand and caught his seig- 
neur by the coat-sleeve. 

"What is the matter with the man?" 
The Commandant plucked his arm away 
and stood back, outraged by this breach of 
decorum. 

But Dominique, having found his voice, 
continued heedless. "She must go! She 
shall go ! It is a wickedness you are doing 
• — do you hear me, Monseigneur ? — a wicked- 



DOMINIQUE 265 

ness, a wickedness. But you shall not keep 
her here ; I will not allow it ! " 

*'Are you stark mad, Dominique Guyon?" 

*'I will not allow it. I love her, I tell 
you — there, I have said it ! Listen again, 
Monseigneur, if you do not understand : I 
love her, I love her — oh, get that into your 
head ! I love her, and will not allow it ! " 

'' Certainly your brain is turned. Go to 
your quarters, sir; it must be sleep you want. 
Yes, yes, my poor fellow, you are pale as a 
corpse ! Go, get some sleep, and when you 
wake we will forget all this." 

"Before God, Monseigneur, I am telling 
you the truth. I need no sleep but the sleep 
of death, and that is like to come soon 
enough. But since we were children I have 
loved your daughter, and in the strength of 
that love I forbid you to kill her." 

The Commandant swung round on his 
heel. 

'' Follow me, if you please." 

He led the way to his orderly-room, seated 
himself at the table, and so confronted the 
young man, who stood humbly enough, 
though with his pale face twitching. 

'^ Dominique Guyon, once in my life I 
made a great mistake ; and that was when, 
to save my poor son's honour, I borrowed 
money of one of my ccnsitaircs. I perceive 



266 FORT AMITY 

now what hopes you have nursed, feeding 
them on my embarrassments. You saw me 
impoverished, brought low, bereaved by 
God's will of my only son ; you guessed 
that I lay awake of nights, troubled by the 
thought of my daughter, who must inherit 
poverty ; and on these foundations you laid 
your schemes. You dreamed of becoming 
a gentilhomme, of marrying my daughter, of 
sitting in my chair at Boisveyrac and deal- 
ing justice among the villagers. And a fine 
dream it seemed to you, eh?" He paused. 

''Monseigneur," Dominique answered sim- 
ply, '*you say some things that are true; 
but you say them so that all seems false and 
vile. Yes, I have dreamed dreams — even 
dreams of becoming a gentilhomme, as you 
say ; but my dreams were never wicked as 
you colour them, seeing that they all flowed 
from love of Mademoiselle Diane, and re- 
turned to her." 

He glanced towards the window, through 
which the pair could see Diane pacing the 
terre-plein in the sunlight. The sight kin- 
dled the elder man to fresh anger. 

'' If," said he harshly, '' I tried to explain 
to you exactly how you insult us, it would 
be wasting my time and yours ; and, how- 
ever much you deserve it, I have no wish to 
wound your feelings beyond need. Let us 



DOMINIQUE 267 

come to business." He unlocked a drawer 
and drew out three bundles of notes. "As 
my farmer you will know better than I the 
current discount on these. You come from 
Montreal. At what price was the Govern- 
ment redeeming its paper there?" 

As he unfolded them, Dominique glanced 
at the notes, and then let his gaze wander 
out through the window. 

'Hs Monseigneur proposing to pay me 
the interest on his bonds?" 

'*To be sure I am." 

*' I do not ask for it." 

"Devil care I if you ask or not! Count 
the notes, if you please." 

Dominique took a packet in his hands for 
a moment, still with his eyes bent absently 
on the window, fingered the notes, and laid 
them back on the table. 

"Monseigneur will do me the justice to 
own that in former times I have given him 
good advice in business. I beg him to keep 
these notes for a while. In a month or 
two their value will have trebled, whichever 
Government redeems them." 

The Commandant struck the table. "In 
a few hours, sir, I shall be a dead man. My 
honour cannot wait so long ; and since the 
question is now of honour, not of business, 
you will keep your advice to yourself. Be 



268 FORT AMITY 

quick, please ; for time presses, and I have 
some instructions to leave to my brother. 
At my death he will sell the Seigniory. The 
Government will take its quint of the pur- 
chase-money, and out of the remainder you 
shall be paid. My daughter will then go 
penniless, but at least I shall have saved her 
from a creditor with such claims as you are 
like to press. And so, sir, I hope you have 
your answer." 

'* No, Monseigneur, not my answer. That 
I will never take but from Mademoiselle 
Diane herself." 

''By God, you shall have it here and 
now ! " The Commandant stepped to the 
window and threw open the casement. 
*' Diane! " he called. 

She came. She stood in the doorway ; 
and Dominique — a moment before so bold — 
lowered his eyes before hers. At sight of 
him her colour rose, but bravely. She was 
young, and had been making her account 
with death. She had never loved Dominique ; 
she had feared him at times, and at times 
pitied him ; but now fate had lifted her and 
set her feet on a height from which she 
looked down upon love and fear with a kind 
of wonder that they had ever seemed impor- 
tant, and even her pity for him lost itself in 
compassion for all men and women in trouble. 



DOMINIQUE 269 

In truth, Dominique looked but a miserable 
culprit before her. 

The Commandant eyed him grimly for a 
moment before turning to her. 

*' Diane/' he said with grave irony, ''you 
will be interested to learn that Monsieur 
Dominique Guyon here has done you the 
honour to request your hand in marriage." 

She did not answer, but stood reading 
their faces. 

"Moreover, on my declining that honour, 
he tells me that he will take his answer from 
you alone." 

Still for a few seconds she kept silence. 

"Why should I not answer him, papa?" 
she said at length, and softly. "It is not 
for us to choose what he should ask." She 
paused. "All his life Dominique Guyon has 
been helping us ; see how he has, even in 
these few days, worn himself in our service!" 

Her father stared at her, puzzled, not 
following her thought. He had expected 
her to be shocked, affronted ; he did not 
know that Dominique's passion was an old 
tale to her, and as little did he perceive that 
in her present mood she put herself aside 
and thought only of Dominique as in trouble 
and needing help. 

But apparently something in her face re- 
assured him, for he stepped toward the door. 



270 FORT AMITY 

"You prefer to give him his answer 
alone ? " 

She bent her head. 

For a while after the door had closed 
upon the Commandant, Dominique stood 
with eyes abased. Then, looking up and 
meeting the divine compassion in hers, he 
fell on his knees and stretched out both 
hands to her. 

'' Is there no hope for me, ma'amzelle ? " 

She shook her head. Looking down on 
him through tears, she held out a hand ; he 
took it between his palms and clung to it, 
sobbing like a child. 

Terrible, convulsive sobs they were at first, 
but grew quieter by degrees, and as the out- 
burst spent itself a deep silence fell upon the 
room. 

A tear had fallen upon his clasped 
knuckles. He put his lips to it and, im- 
prisoning her fingers, kissed them once, 
reverently. 

He was a man again. He stood up, yet 
not releasing her hand, and looked her in 
the face. 

''Ma'amzelle, you will leave the Fort? 
You will let Bateese carry you out of danger ? 
For me, of course, I stay with the Seigneur." 

'* No, Dominique. All New France is 
dying around us, and I stay with my father 



DOMINIQUE 271 

to see the end. Perhaps at the last I shall 
need you to help me." She smiled bravely. 
'*You have been trying to persuade my 
father, I know." 

'* I have been trying to persuade him, and 
yet — yet — Oh, I will tell to you a wicked- 
ness in my heart that I could not tell even 
to Father Launoy ! There was a moment 
when I thought to myself that even to have 
you die here and to die beside you were 
better than to let you go. Can you forgive 
me such a thought as that ? " 

" I forgive." 

*' And will you grant one thing more ? " 

*' What is it, Dominique ? " 

''A silly favour, ma'amzelle — but why 
not ? The English will be here soon, may- 
be in a few hours. Let me call Bateese, 
and we three will be children again and go 
up to the edge of the forest and watch for 
our enemies. They will be real enemies, 
this time ; but even that we may forget, 
perhaps." 

She stood back a pace and laughed — yes, 
laughed — and gaily, albeit with dewy eyes. 
Her hands went up as if she would have 
clapped them. '^Why, to be sure!" she 
cried. *' Let us fetch Bateese at once ! " 

They passed out into the sunlight to- 
gether, and she waited in the courtyard 



272 FORT AMITY 

while Dominique ran upstairs to fetch Ba- 
teese. In five minutes' time the two brothers 
appeared together, Bateese with his pockets 
enormously bulging — whereat Diane laughed 
again. 

** So you have brought the larder, as ever. 
Bateese was always prudent, and never relied 
on the game he killed in hunting. You 
remember, Dominique ? " 

*' He was always a poor shot, ma'amzelle, " 
answered Dominique gravely. 

'* But this is not the larder!" Bateese 
began to explain with a queer look at his 
brother. 

♦'Eh?" 

" Never mind explanations ! Come along, 
all three ! " cried Dominique, and led the 
way. They passed out by the postern un- 
observed — for the garrison was assembled in 
the lunette under the river wall — and hurried 
toward the shade of the forest. 

How well Diane remembered the old 
childish make-believe ! How many scores 
of times had they played it together, these 
three, in the woods around Boisveyrac ! — 
when Dominique and Bateese were bold 
huntsmen, and she kept house for them, 
cooking their imaginary spoils of the chase. 

"We must have a fire ! " she exclaimed, 
and hurried off to gather sticks. But when 



DOMINIQUE 273 

she returned with the lap of her gown well 
filled, a fire was already lit and blazing. 

*' How have you managed it so quickly?" 
she asked, and with that her eyes fell on a 
scrap of ashes. '* Where did you get this ? 
You have been lighting with paper, Ba- 
teese — and that is not playing fair ! " 

Bateese, very red in the face, stooped in 
the smoke and crammed another handful 
upon the blaze. 

"They were papers, ma'amzelle, upon 
which Dominique and I for a long time 
could not agree. But now " — he turned to 
Dominique — '' there is no longer any quarrel 
between us. Eh, brother?" 

"None, Bateese; none, if you forgive." 

"What did I tell you?" cried Bateese tri- 
umphantly. "Did I not always tell you that 
your heart would be lighter, with this shadow 
gone ? And there was never any shadow but 
this ; none — none ! " 

"That is all very well, "Diane remonstrated; 
"but you two have no business to hide a 
secret from me to-day, even though it make 
you happier." 

"We have burnt it for a propitiation, 
ma'amzelle; it no longer exists." Bateese 
cast himself on his back at full length in the 
herbage and gazed up through the drifting 
smoke into the tree-tops and sky. "A-ah! " 

T 



274 FORT AMITY 

said he with a long sigh, ''how good God 
has been to me ! How beautiful he has 
made all my life ! " He propped himself on 
one elbow and continued with shining eyes : 
"What things we were going to do, in 
those days ! What wonders we looked for- 
ward to ! And all the while we were doing 
the most wonderful thing in the world, for 
we loved one another." He stretched out a 
hand and pointed. "There, by the bend, 
the English boats will come in sight. Sup- 
pose, Dominique, that as they come you 
launched out against them, and fought and 
sank the fleet single-handed, like the men in 
the old tales " 

" He would save New France, and live in 
song," Diane put in. "Would that not con- 
tent any man, Bateese?" She threw back 
her head with a gesture which Dominique 
noted ; a trick of her childhood, when in mo- 
ments of excitement her long hair fell across 
her eyes and had to be shaken back. 

" Ma'amzelle," he pleaded, "there is yet 
one favour." 

" Can I grant it easily ? " 

"I hope so; it is that you will let down 
your hair for us." 

Diana blushed, but put up a hand and 
began to uncoil the tresses. "Bateese has 
not answered me," she insisted. " I tell him 



DOMINIQUE 275 

that a man who should do such a feat as he 
named would live in song for ever and ever." 

"But I say to you humbly, ma'amzelle, 
that though he lived in song for ever and 
ever, the true sweetness of his life would be 
unknown to the singers ; for he found it here 
under the branches, and, stepping forth to 
his great deed, he left the memory for a while, 
to meet him again and be his reward in 
Heaven." 

"And I say to you *no,' and 'no,' and again 
' no ' ! " cried Diane, springing to her feet — 
the childish, impetuous Diane of old. " It 
is in the great deed that he lives — the deed, 
and the moment that makes him everlasting! 
If Dominique now, or I, as these English 
came round the bend " 

She paused, meeting Dominique's eyes. 
She had not said "or you," and could not 
say it. Why? Because Bateese was a cripple. 
" Bateese's is a cripple's talk," said their 
glances one to another, guiltily, avoiding 
him. 

Dominique's gaze, flinching a little, passed 
down the splendid coils of her hair and rested 
on the grass at her feet. She lifted a tress 
on her forefinger and smoothed it against 
the sunlight. 

"There was a war once," said she, "be- 
tween the Greeks and the Persians ; and the 



276 FORT AMITY 

Persians overran the Greeks' country until 
they came to a pass in the mountains where 
a few men could stand against many. There 
three hundred of the Greeks had posted 
themselves, despising death, to oppose an 
army of tens and hundreds of thousands. 
The Persian king sent forward a horseman, 
and he came near and looked along the pass 
and saw but a few Greeks combing their hair 
and dressing it carefully, as I am dressing 
mine." 

''What happened, ma'amzelle?" 

" They died, and live in song for ever and 
ever ! 

She faced them, her cheeks glowing, and 
lifted a hand as the note of a sweet-toned 
bell rose upon the morning air above the 
voices of the birds; of the chapel-bell ring- 
ing the garrison to Mass. 

The two young men scrambled to their 
feet. 

*'Come!" said Diane, and they walked 
back to the Fort together. 



CHAPTER XXIII 
THE FLAGSTAFF TOWER 

TIME pressing, the Commandant had 
gone straight from the orderly-room 
in search of Father Joly. As a soldier and 
a good Catholic he desired to be shriven, 
and as a man of habit he preferred the old 
Cure to Father Launoy. To be sure the 
Cure was deaf as a post, but on the other 
hand the Commandant's worst sins would 
bear to be shouted. 

''There is yet one thing upon my con- 
science," he wound up. ''The fact is, I 
feel pretty sure of myself in this business, 
but I have some difficulty in trusting God." 

It is small wonder that a confession so 
astonishing had to be repeated twice, and 
even when he heard it Father Joly failed to 
understand. 

" But how is it possible to mistrust God ? " 
he asked. 

"Well, I don't know. I suppose that 
even in bringing New France so near to 

277 



278 FORT AMITY 

destruction He is acting in loving mercy ; 
but all the same it will be a wrench to me 
if these English pass without paying us the 
honour of a siege. For if we cannot force 
them to a fight, Montreal is lost." The 
Commandant believed this absolutely. 

Father Joly was Canadian born and bred ; 
had received his education in the Seminary 
of Quebec ; and knowing nothing of the 
world beyond New France, felt no doubt 
upon which side God was fighting. If it 
were really necessary to New France that 
the English should be delayed — and he 
would take the Commandant's word for it — 
why then delayed they would be. This he 
felt able to promise. '' And I in my heart 
of hearts am sure of it," said the Command- 
ant. '*But in war one has to take account 
of every chance, and this may pass some- 
times for want of faith." 

So, like an honest gentleman, he took his 
absolution, and afterwards went to Mass and 
spent half an hour with his mind withdrawn 
from all worldly care, greatly to his soul's 
refreshment. But with the ringing of the 
sanctus bell a drum began to beat — as it 
seemed, on the very ridge of the chapel 
roof, but really from the leads of the flag- 
staff tower high above it. Father Launoy 
paused in the celebration, but was ordered 



THE FLAGSTAFF TOWER 279 

by a quiet gesture to proceed. Even at the 
close the garrison stood and waited respect- 
fully for their Commandant to walk out, and 
followed in decent order to the porch. Then 
they broke into a run pell-mell for the walls. 

But an hour passed before the first whale- 
boat with its load of red uniforms pushed its 
way into sight through the forest screen. 
Then began a spectacle — slow, silent, by 
little and little overwhelming. It takes a 
trained imagination to realise great numbers, 
and the men of Fort Amitie were soon 
stupefied and ceased even to talk. It seemed 
to them that the forest would never cease 
disgorging boats. 

''A brave host, my children ! But we will 
teach them that they handle a wasps' nest." 

His men eyed the Commandant in doubt ; 
they could scarcely believe that he intended 
to resist, now that the enemy's strength was 
apparent. To their minds war meant win- 
ning or losing, capturing or being captured. 
To fight an impossible battle, for the mere 
sake of gaining time for troops they had 
never seen, did not enter into their calcula- 
tions. 

So they eyed him, while still the flotilla 
increased against the far background and 
came on — whaleboats, gunboats, batteaux, 
canoes ; and still in the lessening interval 



28o FORT AMITY 

along the waterway the birds sang. For the 
British moved, not as once upon Lake 
George startHng the echoes with drums and 
military bands, but so quietly that at half a 
mile's distance only the faint murmur of 
splashing oars and creaking thole-pins 
reached the ears of the watchers. 

The Commandant suddenly lowered his 
glass and closed it with a snap, giving 
thanks to God. For at that distance the 
leading boats began heading in for shore. 

''Etienne, he intends at least to summon 



us 



So it proved. General Amherst was by 
no means the man to pass and leave a hostile 
post in his rear. His detractors indeed 
accused him of spending all his time upon 
forts, either in building or in reducing them. 
But he had two very good reasons for 
pausing before Fort Amitie ; he did not 
know the strength of its defenders, and he 
wanted pilots to guide his boats down the 
rapids below. 

Therefore he landed and sent an officer 
forward to summon the garrison. 

The officer presented himself at the 
river-gate, and having politely suffered Ser- 
geant Bedard to blindfold him, was led to 
the Commandant's quarters. A good hour 
passed before he reappeared, the Command- 



THE FLAGSTAFF TOWER 281 

ant himself conducting him ; and meantime 
the garrison amused itself with wagering on 
the terms of capitulation. 

At the gate the Englishman's bandage 
was removed. He saluted, and was saluted, 
with extreme ceremony. The Commandant 
watched him out of earshot, and then, 
rubbing his hands, turned with a happy 
smile. 

*'To your guns, my children ! " 

They obeyed him, while they wondered. 
He seemed to take for granted that they 
must feel the compliment paid them by a 
siege in form. 

The day was now well advanced, and it 
seemed at first that the British meant ^o let 
it pass without a demonstration. Toward 
nightfall, however, four gunboats descended 
the river, anchored and dropped down the 
current, paying out their hawsers and feeling 
their way into range. But the Fort was 
ready for them, and opened fire before they 
could train their guns ; a lucky shot cut the 
moorings of one clean and close by the stem ; 
and, the current carrying her inshore, she 
was hulled twice as she drifted down-stream. 
The other three essayed a few shots without 
effect in the dusk, warped back out of range, 
and waited for daylight to improve their 
marksmanship. 



282 FORT AMITY 

And with daylight began one of the 
strangest of sieges, between an assailant 
who knew only that he had to deal with 
stout walls, and a defender who dared not 
attempt even a show of a sortie for fear of 
exposing the weakness of his garrison. The 
French had ammunition enough to last for 
a month, and cannon enough to keep two 
hundred men busy ; and ran from one gun 
to another, keeping up pretences but doing 
Httle damage in their hurry. Their lucky 
opening shots had impressed Amherst, and 
he was one to cling to a notion of his enemy's 
strength. He solemnly effected a new land- 
ing at six hundred yards' distance, opened 
his lines across the north-western corner of 
the fort, kept his men entrenching for two 
days and two nights, brought up thirty guns, 
and, advancing them within two hundred 
yards, began at his leisure to knock holes 
in the walls. Meantime, twenty guns, 
anchored out in the river, played on the 
broad face of the fort and swept the Com- 
mandant's lunette out of existence. And with 
all this prodigious waste of powder but five 
of the garrison had fallen, and three of these 
by the bursting of a single shell. The 
defenders und'erstood now that they were 
fighting for time, and told each other that 
when their comedy was played out and the 



THE FLAGSTAFF TOWER 283 

inevitable moment came, the British General 
would not show himself fierce in revenge — 
** provided," they would add, ''the Seigneur 
does not try his patience too far." It was 
Father Launoy who set this whisper going 
from lip to lip, and so artfully that none 
suspected him for its author; Father Launoy, 
who had been wont to excite the patriotism 
of the faithful by painting the English as 
devils in human shape. He was a brave 
man ; but he held this resistance to be sense- 
less and did not believe for an instant that 
Montreal would use the delay or, using it, 
would strike with any success. 

At first the tremendous uproar of the 
enemy's artillery and its shattering effect on 
the masonry of their fortress, had numbed 
the militiamen's nerves ; they felt the place 
tumbling about their ears. But as the hours 
passed they discovered that round-shot could 
be dodged and that even bursting shells, 
though effective against stones and mortar, 
did surprisingly small damage to life and 
limb ; and with this discovery they began 
almost to taste the humour of the situation. 
They fed and rested in bomb-proof chambers 
which the Commandant and M. Etienne 
had devised in the slope of earth under the 
terre-plein ; and from these they watched 
and discussed in safety the wreckage done 



284 FORT AMITY 

upon the empty buildings across the court- 
yard. 

One of these caves had at the beginning 
of the siege been assigned to Diane ; and 
from the mouth of it, seated with Felicite 
beside her, she too watched the demoHtion ; 
but with far different thoughts. She knew 
better than these miHtiamen her father's 
obstinacy, and that his high resolve reached 
beyond the mere gaining of time. It seemed 
to her that God was drawing out the agony ; 
and with the end before her mind she prayed 
Him to shorten this cruel interval. 

Early on the third morning the British 
guns had laid open a breach six feet wide at 
the north-western angle, close by the foot of 
the flagstaff tower ; and Amherst, who had 
sent off a detachment of the Forty-sixth with 
a dozen Indian guides to fetch a circuit 
through the woods and open a feint attack 
in the rear of the fort, prepared for a general 
assault. But first he resolved to summon 
the garrison again. 

To carry his message he chose the same 
officer as before, a Captain Muspratt of the 
Forty-fourth Regiment. 

Now as yet the cannonade had not 
slackened, and it chanced that as the 
General gave Muspratt his instructions, an 
artillery sergeant in command of a battery of 



THE FLAGSTAFF TOWER 285 

mortars on the left, which had been advanced 
within two hundred yards of the walls, ele- 
vated one of his pieces and lobbed a bomb 
clean over the summit of the flag-staff tower. 

It was a fancy shot, fired — as the army 
learnt afterwards — for a wager ; but its effect 
staggered all who watched it. The fuse was 
quick, and the bomb, mounting on its high 
curve, exploded in a direct line between the 
battery and the flagstaff. One or two men 
from the neighbouring guns shouted bravos. 
The sergeant slapped his thigh and was 
turning for congratulations, but suddenly 
paused, stock-still and staring upward. 

The flagstaff stood, apparently untouched. 
But what had become of the flag ? 

A moment before it had been floating 
proudly enough, shaking its folds loose to 
the light breeze. Now it was gone. Had 
the explosion blown it to atoms? Not a 
shred of it floated away on the wind. 

A man on the sergeant's right called out 
positively that a couple of seconds after the 
explosion, and while the smoke was clearing, 
he had caught a glimpse of something white 
— something which looked like a flag — close 
by the foot of the staff ; and that an arm had 
reached up and drawn it down hurriedly. 
He would swear to the arm ; he had seen it 
distinctly above the edge of the battlements. 



286 FORT AMITY 

In his opinion the fort was surrendering, and 
some one aloft there had been pulling down 
the flag as the bomb burst. 

The General, occupied for the moment in 
giving Captain Muspratt his instructions, 
had not witnessed the shot. But he turned 
at the shout which followed, caught sight of 
the bare flagstaff, and ordering his bugler to 
sound the ''Cease firing," sent forward the 
captain at once to parley. 

With Muspratt went a sergeant of the 
Forty-sixth and a bugler. The sergeant 
carried a white flag. Ascending the slope 
briskly, they were met at the gate by M. 
Etienne. 

The sudden disappearance of the flag 
above the tower had mystified the garrison 
no less thoroughly than the British. They 
knew the Commandant to be aloft there with 
Sergeant B6dard, and the most of the men 
could only guess, as their enemies had 
guessed, that he was giving the signal of 
surrender. 

But this M. Etienne could by no means 
believe ; it belied his brother's nature as well 
as his declared resolve. And so, while the 
English captain with great politeness stated 
his terms — which were unconditional sur- 
render and nothing less — the poor gentleman 
kept glancing over his shoulder and answer- 



THE FLAGSTAFF TOWER 287 

ing at random, "Yes, yes," or "Precisely — if 
you will allow me, " or " Excuse me a moment, 

until my brother " In short, he rambled 

so that Captain Muspratt could only suppose 
his wits unhinged. It was scarce credible that 
a sane man could receive such a message in- 
attentively, and yet this old gentleman did 
not seem to be listening ! 

Diane meanwhile stood at the mouth of 
her shelter with her eyes lifted, intent upon 
the tower's summit. She, too, had seen the 
flag run down with the bursting of the bomb, 
and she alone had hit in her mind on the true 
explanation — that a flying shard had cut 
clean through the up-halliard close to the 
staffs, and the flag — heavy with golden lilies 
of her own working — had at once dropped 
of its own weight. She had caught sight, 
too, of her father's arm reaching up to grasp 
it, and she knew why. The flagstaff had a 
double set of halliards. 

She waited — waited confidently, since her 
father was alive up there. She marvelled 
that he had escaped, for the explosion had 
seemed to wrap the battlements in one sheet 
of fire. Nevertheless he was safe — she had 
seen him — and she waited for the flag to rise 
again. 

Minutes passed. She took a step forward 
from her shelter. The firing had ceased and 



288 FORT AMITY 

the courtyard was curiously still and empty. 
Then four of the five militiamen posted to 
watch the back of the building came hurrying 
across towards the gateway. She understood 
— her senses being strung for the moment so 
tensely that they seemed to relieve her of all 
trouble of thinking — she understood that a 
parley was going forward at the gate and 
that these men were hurrying from their posts 
to hear it. In her ears the bugles still 
sounded the "Cease firing" ; and still she 
gazed up at the tower. 

Yes — she had made no mistake ! The 
spare halliards were shaking ; in a second or 
two — but why did they drag so interminably? 
— the flag would rise again. 

And it rose. Before her eyes, before the 
eyes of the parleyers in the gateway and of 
the British watching from their batteries, it 
rose above the edge of the battlements and 
climbed half-way up the mast, or a little 
short of half-way. There it stopped — climbed 
a few feet higher — and stopped again — 
climbed yet another foot — and slowly, very 
slowly, fluttered downward. 

With a dreadful surmise Diane started to 
run across the courtyard toward the door 
at the foot of the tower ; and even as she 
started a yell went up from the rear of 
the fort, followed by a random volley of 



THE FLAGSTAFF TOWER 289 

musketry and a second yell — a true Iroquois 
war-whoop. 

In the gateway Captain Muspratt called 
promptly to his bug-ler. The first yell had 
told him what was happening ; that the men 
of the Forty-sixth, sent round for the feint 
attack, had found the rear wall defenceless 
and were escalading, in ignorance of the 
parley at the gate. 

Quick as thought the bugler sounded the 
British recall, and its notes were taken up by 
bugle after bugle down the slope. The 
Major commanding the feint attack heard, 
comprehended after a fashion, and checked 
his men ; and the Forty-sixth, as a well- 
disciplined regiment, dropped off its scaling 
ladders and came to heel. 

But he could not check his Indian guides. 
Once already on their progress down the 
river they had been baulked of their lust to 
kill ; and this restraint had liked them so 
little that already three-fourths of Sir William 
Johnson's Iroquois were marching back to 
their homes in dudgeon. These dozen braves 
would not be cheated a second time if they 
could help it. Disregarding the shouts and 
the bugle-calls they swarmed up the ladders, 
dropped within the fort, and swept through 
the Commandant's quarters into the court- 
yard. 



290 FORT AMITY 

In the doorway at the foot of the flagstaff 
tower a woman's skirt fluttered for an instant 
and was gone. They raced after it Hke a 
pack of mad dogs, and with them ran one, 
an Ojibway, whom neither hate nor lust, but 
a terrible fear, made fleeter than any. 

Six of them reached the narrow doorway 
together, snarling and jostling in their rage. 
The Ojibway broke through first and led the 
way up the winding stairway, taking it three 
steps at a time, with death behind him now 
— though of this he recked nothing — since 
he had clubbed an Oneida senseless in the 
doorway, and these Indians, Oneidas all, 
had from the start resented his joining the 
party of guides. 

Never a yard separated him from the 
musket-butt of the Indian who panted next 
after him ; but above, at the last turning of 
the stair under a trap-door through which 
the sunlight poured, he caught again the 
flutter of a woman's skirt. A ladder led 
through the hatchway, and — almostgrasping 
her frock — he sprang up after Diane, flung 
himself on the leads, reached out, and 
clutching the hatch, slammed it down on 
the foremost Oneida's head. 

As he slipped the bolt — thank God it had 
a bolt ! — he heard the man drop from the 
ladder with a muffled thud. Then, safe for 



THE FLAGSTAFF TOWER 291 

a moment, he ran to the battlements and 
shouted down at the pitch of his voice. 

'* Forty-sixth ! This way, Forty-sixth ! " 

His voice sounded passing strange to him. 
Nor for two years had it been Hfted to pro- 
nounce an EngHsh word. 

Having sent down his call he ran back 
swiftly to the closed hatchway ; and as he 
knelt, pressing upon it with both hands, his 
eyes met Diane's. 

She stood by the flagstaflf with a pistol in 
her hand. But her hand hung stiffly by her 
hip as it had dropped at the sound of his 
shout, and her eyes stared on him. At her 
feet lay the Commandant, his hand still rigid 
upon the halliards, his breast covered by the 
folds of the fallen flag, and behind her, as 
the bursting shell had killed and huddled it, 
the body of old Sergeant Bedard. 

Why she stood there, pistol in hand, he 
could partly guess. How these two corpses 
came here he could not guess at all. The 
Commandant, mortally wounded, had grasped 
at the falling flag, and w^ith a dying effort 
had bent it upon the spare halliards and 
tried to hoist. It lay now, covering a wound 
which had torn his chest open, coat and 
flesh, and laid his ribs bare. 

But John a Cleeve, kneeling upon the 
hatchway, understood nothing of this. What 



292 FORT AMITY 

beat on his brain was the vision of a face 
below — the face of the officer commanding — 
turned upwards in blank astonishment at his 
shout of '' Forty-sixth ! This way, Forty- 
sixth ! " 

The Indians were battering the hatch with 
their musket-butts. The bolt shook. He 
pressed his weight down on the edge, keeping 
his head well back to be out of the way of 
bullets. Luckily the timbers of the hatch 
were stout, and moreover it had a leaden 
casing, but this would avail nothing when 
the Indians began to fire at the hinges — as 
they surely would. 

He found himself saying aloud in French, 
** Run, mademoiselle ! — I won't answer for 
the hinges. Call again to the red-coats ! 
They will help." 

But still, while blow after blow shook the 
hatch, Diane crouched motionless, staring at 
him with wild eyes. 

'*They will help," he repeated with the 
air of one striving to speak lucidly ; then 
with a change of tone, "Give me your pistol, 
please." 

She held it out obediently, at arm's length ; 
but as he took it she seemed to remember, 
and crept close. 

" Non — non ! " she whispered. '*C'est a 
moi — que tu Ic dois, enfin!" 



THE FLAGSTAFF TOWER 293 

From the staircase — not close beneath the 
hatch, but, as it seemed, far below their feet 
— came the muffled sound of shots, and be- 
tween the shots hoarse cries of rage. 

'* Courage ! " whispered John. He could 
hear that men were grappling and fighting 
down there, and supposed the Forty-sixth to 
be at hand. He could not know that the 
parleyers at the gate, appalled for an instant 
by the vision of Diane with a dozen savages 
in chase, had rallied at a yell from Domi- 
nique Guyon, pelted after him to the rescue, 
and were now at grips with the rearmost 
Oneidas — a locked and heaving mass choking 
the narrow spirals of the stairway. 

''Courage!" he whispered again, and 
pressing a knee on the edge of the hatch 
reached out a hand to steady her. What 
mattered it if they died now — together — he 
and she? " Tu dots " — she loved him ; her 
lips had betrayed her. " Tu dots " — the 
words sang through him, thrilling, bathing 
him in bliss. 

*' O my love ! O my love ! " 

The blows beat upward against the hatch 
and ceased. He sprang erect, slid an arm 
around her and dragged her back — not a 
second too soon. A gun exploded against 
the hinges at their feet, blowing one loose. 
John saw the crevices gaping and the muzzle 



294 FORT AMITY 

of a gun pushed through to prise it open. 
He leaped upon the hatch, pistol in hand. 

'' Forty-sixth ! Forty-sixth ! " 

What was that ? Through the open crevice 
a British cheer answered him. The man 
levering against his weight lost hold of the 
gun, leaving it jammed. John heard the 
slide and thud of his fall. 

''Hulloa!" hailed a cheerful voice from 
the foot of the ladder. '* You there ! — open 
the trap-way and show us some light ! " 

John knelt, slipped back the bolt, and 
turned to Diane. She had fallen on her 
knees — but what had happened to her ? She 
was cowering before the joy in his face, 
shrinking away from him and yet beseech- 
ing. 

'* Le pistolet — donne-moi le pistolet ! " — 
her voice hissed on the word, her eyes peti- 
tioned him desperately. '*Ah, de grace! 
tu n'a pas le droit " 

He understood. With a passing bitter 
laugh he turned from her entreaties and 
hurled the pistol across the battlements into 
air. A hand flung open the hatch. A British 
officer — Etherington, Major of the Forty- 
sixth — pushed his head and shoulders 
through the opening and stared across the 
leads, panting, with triumphant jolly face. 



CHAPTER XXIV 
THE FORT SURRENDERS 

THE red-coats, who had forced their way 
up the tower by weight of numbers 
and at the point of the bayonet, were now 
ordered to face about and clear the stair- 
way ; which they did, driving* the mixed 
rabble of Canadians and Indians down be- 
fore them, and collecting the dead and 
wounded as they went. Five of the Oneidas 
had been bayoneted or trampled to death in 
the struggle ; two of the garrison would 
never fight again, and scarcely a man had 
escaped cuts or bruises. 

But Diane, as she followed her father's 
body down the stairs, knew nothing of this. 
The dead and wounded had been removed. 
The narrow lancet windows let in a faint 
light, enough to reveal some ugly stains and 
splashes on the walls ; but she walked with 
fixed unseeing eyes. Once only on the way 
down her foot slid on the edge of a slippery 
step, and she shivered. 

295 



296 FORT AMITY 

In the sunlight outside the doorway a 
group of men, mauled and sullen, some 
wearing bandages, others with blood yet 
trickling down their faces, stood listening to 
an altercation between M. Etienne and a 
couple of spick-and-span British officers. As 
their Commandant's body came through the 
doorway they drew together with a growl. 
Love was in that sound, and sorrow, and 
helpless rage. One or two broke into sobs. 

The British officers — one of them was the 
General himself, the other his messenger, 
Captain Muspratt — bared their heads. M. 
Etienne, checked in the midst of an harangue, 
stepped to Diane and took her hand tenderly. 

She gazed slowly around on the group of 
battered men. There was no reproach in 
her look — Had she not failed as miserably 
as they? — and yet it held a w^ord of injus- 
tice. She could not know that for her sake 
they carried these wounds. And Dominique 
Guyon, the one man who could have an- 
swered her thoughts, stared savagely at the 
ground, offering no defence. 

*' Dominique Guyon," commanded M. 
Etienne, '*four of you will relieve these 
messieurs of their burden. Carry your master 
to the chapel, where you will find Father 
Launoy and Father Joly." 

''But pardon me, monsieur," interposed 



THE FORT SURRENDERS 297 

Amherst politely, ''my soldiers will be proud 
to bear so gallant a foe." 

''I thank you" — M. Etienne's bow was 
stiff and obstinate — ''but I assert again that 
I still command this fortress, and the bearers 
shall be of my choosing." 

Diane laid a hand on her uncle's arm. 
"He is dead," said she. "What matters 
it?" She did not understand this dispute. 
"Perhaps if I promise M. le General that 
these men shall return to him when they 
have laid my father in the chapel " 

The General — a tall, lean, horse -faced 
man with a shrewd and not unkindly eye 
— yielded the point at once. "Willingly, 
mademoiselle, and with all the respect an 
enemy may pay to your sorrow." 

He ordered the men to give place to the 
new bearers. 

In the chapel Diane sank on her knees, 
but not to pray — rather to escape the con- 
solations of the two priests and be alone 
with her thoughts. And her thoughts were 
not of her father. The stroke had fallen ; 
but not yet could she feel the pain. He 
was happy ; he alone of them all had kept 
his quiet vow, and died disdaining defeat ; 
whereas she — ah, there lay the terrible 
thought ! — she had not merely failed, had 
not been overpowered. In the crisis, beside 



298 FORT AMITY 

her father's corpse, she had played the 
traitress to her resolve. 

The two priests moved about the body, 
arranging it, fetching trestles, draperies, and 
candles for the lit de parade^ always with 
stealthy glances at the bowed figure in the 
shadow just within the door. But she knelt 
on, nor lifted her face. 

In the sunlit courtyard without the two 
commanders were still disputing. M. Etienne 
flatly refused to yield up his sword, maintain- 
ing that he had never surrendered, had 
agreed to no terms of capitulation ; that 
the red-coats had swarmed over his walls in 
the temporary absence of their defenders, 
gathered at the gateway to parley under a 
flag of truce, and should be drawn off" at once. 

The mischief was, he could not be gain- 
said. Major Etherington explained — at first 
in English, to his General, and again, at his 
General's request, in the best French he 
could command, for the benefit of all, that 
he had indeed heard the recall blown, and 
had with difficulty drawn off his men from 
the scaling-ladders, persuading them (as he 
himself was persuaded) that the fort had sur- 
rendered. He knew nothing of the white 
flag at the gateway, but had formed his con- 
clusions from the bugle-calls and the bare 
flagstaff above the tower. 



THE FORT SURRENDERS 299 

''Nevertheless, we had not capitulated," 
persisted M. Etienne. 

The Major continued that, albeit he had 
tried his best, the Indians were not to be 
restrained. They had poured into the fort, 
and, although he had obeyed the bugles and 
kept his men back, it had cost him grave 
misgivings. But when the Ojibway called 
down so urgently from the summit of the 
tower, he had risked disobedience, hoping 
to prevent the massacre which he knew to 
be afoot. He appealed to his General to 
approve, or at least condone, this breach of 
orders. For undoubtedly massacre had been 
prevented. Witness the crowd he had found 
jammed in the stairway, and fighting fero- 
ciously. Witness the scene that had met 
him at the head of the stairs. Here he 
swung round upon John and beckoned him 
to stand out from the listening group of red- 
coats. 

"It can be proved, sir," he went on, 
addressing M. Etienne, "that the lady — 
your niece, is she not ? — owes her life, and 
more than her life perhaps, to this savage. 
I claim only that, answering his call, I led 
my men with all possible speed to the rescue. 
Up there on the leads I found your brother 
lying dead, with a sergeant dead beside him ; 
and their wounds again will prove to you 



300 FORT AMITY 

that they had perished by the bursting of a 
shell. But this man alone stood on the 
hatchway and held it against a dozen Iro- 
quois, as your niece will testify. What you 
suppose yourself to owe him, I won't pre- 
tend to say ; but I tell you — and I tell you. 
General — that cleaner pluck I never saw in 
my life." 

John, the soldiers pushing him forward, 
stood out with bent head. He prayed that 
there might be no Ojibway interpreter at 
hand ; he knew of none in the fort but 
Father Launoy, now busy in the chapel 
laying out the Commandant's body. Of all 
the spectators there was but one — the 
General himself — who had not known him 
either as Ensign John a Cleeve or as the 
wounded sergeant from Ticonderoga. He 
had met Captain Muspratt at Albany, and 
remembered him well on the march up the 
Hudson to Lake George. With Major 
Etherington he had marched, messed, played 
at cards, and lived in close comradeship for 
months together — only two years ago ! It 
was not before their eyes that he hung his 
head, but before the thought of two eyes 
that in the chapel yonder were covered by 
the hands of a kneeling girl. 

M. Etienne stepped forward and took his 
hand. 



THE FORT SURRENDERS 301 

'*I thank you, my friend — if you can 
understand my thanks." 

Dominique Guyon, returning from the 
chapel, saw only an Indian stepping back 
upon the ranks of the red-coats, who clapped 
him on the shoulder for a good fellow ; and 
Dominique paid him no more attention, 
being occupied with M. Etienne's next 
words. 

''Nevertheless," said M. Etienne, turn- 
ing upon Amherst, '* my duty to his Majesty 
obliges me to insist that I have not capitu- 
lated ; and your troops, sir, though they 
have done me this service, must be at once 
withdrawn." 

And clearly, by all the rules of war, M. 
Etienne had the right on his side. Amherst 
shrugged his shoulders, frowning and yet 
forced to smile — the fix was so entirely 
absurd. As discipline went in these North 
American campaigns, he commanded a well- 
disciplined army ; but numbers of provincials 
and batteau-men had filtered in through the 
breaches almost unobserved during the par- 
ley, and were now strolling about the forti- 
fications like a crowd of inquisitive tourists. 
He ordered Major Etherington to clear 
them out, and essayed once more to reason 
with the enemy. 

" You do not seriously urge me, monsieur. 



302 FORT AMITY 

to withdraw my men and renew the bom- 
bardment ? " 

''That is precisely what I require of 
you." 

"But — good heavens, my dear sir! — look 
at the state of your walls ! " He waved a 
hand towards the defences. 

'' I see them ; hut j}'ou, sir, as a gentleman, 
should have no eyes for their condition — on 
this side." 

The General arched his eyebrows and 
glanced from M. Etienne to the Canadians ; 
he did not for a moment mean to appeal to 
them, but his glance said involuntarily, ''A 
pretty madman you have for commander ! " 

And in fact they were already murmuring. 
What nonsense was this of M. Etienne's? 
The fort had fallen, as any man with eyes 
could see. Their Commandant was dead. 
They had fought to gain time ? Well, they 
had succeeded, and won compliments even 
from their enemy. 

Corporal Sans Quartier spoke up. "With 
all respect, M. le Capitaine, if we fight again 
some of us would like to know what we are 
fighting for." 

M. Etienne swung round upon him. 

"Tais-toi, poltron ! " 

A murmur answered him ; and looking 
along the line of faces he read sympathy. 



THE FORT SURRENDERS 303 

respect, even a little shame, but nowhere 
the response he sought. 

Nor did he reproach them. Bitter re- 
proaches indeed shook his lips, but trembled 
there and died unuttered. For five — maybe 
ten — long seconds he gazed, and so turned 
towards the General. 

^'Achevez, monsieur! . . . Je vous de- 
mande pardon si vous me trouvez un peu 
pointilleux." His voice shook; he unbuckled 
his sword, held it for a moment between his 
hands as if hesitating, then offered it to 
Amherst with the ghost of a bitter smile. 
" Cela ne vaut pas — sauf a moi — la peine de 
le casser ..." 

He bowed, and would have passed on 
towards the chapel. Amherst gently de- 
tained him. 

''I spare you my compliments, sir, and 
my condolence ; they would be idly offered 
to a brave man at such a moment. Forgive 
me, though, that I cannot spare to consult 
you on my own affairs. Time presses with 
us. You have, as I am told, good pilots 
here who know the rapids between this and 
Montreal, and I must beg to have them 
pointed out to me." 

M. Etienne paused. *'The best pilots, 
sir, are Dominique Guyon there, and his 
brother Bateese. But you will find that 



304 FORT AMITY 

most of these men know the river tolerably 
well." 

*'And the rest of your garrison? Your 
pardon, again, but I must hold you respon- 
sible, to deliver up all your men within the 
Fort." 

" I do not understand . . . This, sir, is 
all the garrison of Fort Amiti6." 

Amherst stared at the nineteen or twenty 
hurt and dishevelled men ranged against the 
tower wall, then back into a face impossible 
to associate with untruth. 

" M. le Capitaine," said he very slowly, 
" if with these men you have made a laugh- 
ing-stock of me for two days and a half, why 
then I owe you a grudge. But something 
else I owe, and must repay at once. Be so 
good as to receive back a sword, sir, of 
which I am all unworthy to deprive you." 

But as he proffered it, M. Etienne put up 
both hands to thrust the gift away, then 
covered his face with them. 

''Not now, monsieur — not now! To- 
morrow perhaps . . . but not now, or I may 
break it indeed ! " 

Still with his face covered, he tottered off 
towards the chapel. 



CHAPTER XXV 
THE RAPIDS 

THEY had run the Galops rapids, Point 
Iroquois, Point Cardinal, the Rapide 
Plat, without disaster though not without 
heavy toil. The fury of the falls far ex- 
ceeded Amherst's expectations, but he be- 
lieved that he had seen the worst, and he 
blessed the pilotage of Dominique and 
Bateese Guyon. 

Here and there the heavier batteaux carry- 
ing the guns would be warped or pushed 
and steadied along shore in the shallow 
water under the bank, by gangs, to avoid 
some peril over which the whaleboats rode 
easily ; and this not only delayed the flotilla 
but accounted for the loss of a few men 
caught at unawares by the edge of the 
current, swept off their legs, and drowned. 

On the first day of September they ran the 

Long Saut and floated across the still basin 

of Lake St. Francis. At the foot of the 

lake the General landed a company or two 

X 305 



3o6 FORT AMITY 

of riflemen to dislodge La Corne's militia ; 
but La Corne was already falling back upon 
the lower rapids, and, as it turned out, this 
redoubtable partisan gave no trouble at all. 

They reached and passed Coteau du Lac 
on the 3rd. 

Dominique and Bateese steered the two 
leading whaleboats, setting the course for 
the rest as they had set it all the way down 
from Fort Amitie. By M. Etienne's request, 
he and his niece and the few disabled 
prisoners from the fort travelled in these two 
boats under a small guard. It appeared that 
the poor gentleman's wits were shaken ; he 
took an innocent pride now in the skill of 
the two brothers, his family's censitaires^ 
and throughout the long days he discoursed 
on it wearisomely. The siege — his brother's 
death — Fort Amitie itself and his two years 
and more of residence there — seemed to have 
faded from his mind. He spoke of Boisvey- 
rac as though he had left it but a few hours 
since. 

"And the General," said he to Diane, 
"wrH be interested in seeing the Seigniory." 

"A sad sight, monsieur ! " put in Bateese, 
overhearing him. (Just before embarking, 
M. Etienne, Diane and Felicity had been 
assigned to Bateese's boat, while Father 
Launoy, Father Joly and two wounded 



THE RAPIDS 307 

prisoners travelled in Dominique's.) "A 
sight to break the heart ! We passed it, 
Dominique and I, on our way to and from 
Montreal. Figure to yourself that the corn 
was standing already over-ripe, and it will 
be standing yet, though we are in Sep- 
tember ! " 

*'The General will make allowances," 
answered M, Etienne with grave simplicity. 
'' He will understand that we have had 
no time for harvesting of late. Another 
year " 

Diane shivered. And yet — was it not 
better to dote thus, needing no pity, happy 
as a child, than to live sane and feel the 
torture ? Better perhaps, but best and bles- 
sedest to escape the choice as her father had 
escaped it ! As the river bore her nearer 
to Boisveyrac she saw his tall figure pacing 
the familiar shores, pausing to con the acres 
that were his and had been his father's and 
his father's father's. She saw and under- 
stood that smile of his which had so often 
puzzled her as a child when she had peered 
up into his face under its broad-brimmea hat 
and noted his eyes as they rested on the fields, 
the clearings, the forest ; noted his cheeks 
reddened with open-air living ; his firm lips 
touched with pride — the pride of a king 
treading his undisputed ground. In those 



3o8 FORT AMITY 

days she and Armand had been something 
of an enigma to their father, and he to them ; 
their vision tinged and clouded, perhaps, by 
a drop or two of dusky Indian blood. But 
now he had suddenly become intelligible to 
her, an heroic figure, wonderfully simple. 
She let her memory call up picture after 
picture of him — as he sat in the great parlour 
hearing ''cases," dispensing fatherly justice ; 
as he stood up at a marriage feast to drink 
the bride's and bridegroom's health and 
commend their example to all the young 
habitants; as he patted the heads of the 
children trooping to their first communion ; 
as he welcomed his censitaires on St. Martin's 
day, when they poured in with their rents — 
wheat, eggs and poultry — the poultry all 
alive, heels tied, heads down, throats dis- 
tended and squalling — until the barnyard 
became Babel, and still he went about pinch- 
ing the fowls' breasts, running the corn 
through his hands, dispensing a word of 
praise here, a prescription there, and kind- 
ness everywhere. Now bad harvests would 
vex him no more, nor the fate of his familiar 
fields. In the wreck of all he had lived for, 
his life had stood up clear for a moment, 
complete in itself and vindicated. And the 
moment which had revealed had also ended 
it ; he lay now beneath the chapel pave- 



THE RAPIDS 309 

ment at Fort Amitie, indifferently awaiting 
judgment, his sword by his side. 

They ran the Cedars and, taking breath on 
the smooth waters below, steered for the 
shore where the towers and tall chimneys 
of Boisveyrac crept into view, and the long 
fa9ade of the Seigniory, slowly unfolding 
itself from the forest. 

Here the leading boats were brought to 
land while the flotilla collected itself for the 
next descent. A boat had capsised and 
drowned its crew in the Long Saut, and 
Amherst had learnt the lesson of that 
accident and thenceforward allowed no 
straggling. Constant to his rule, too, of 
leaving no post in his rear until satisfied that 
it was harmless, he proposed to inspect the 
Seigniory, and sent a message desiring M. 
Etienne's company — and Mademoiselle's, if 
to grant this favour would not distress her. 

Diane prayed to be excused ; but M. 
Etienne accepted with alacrity. He had 
saluted the first glimpse of the homestead 
with a glad cry, eager as a schoolboy return- 
ing for his holidays. He met the General 
on the slope with a gush of apologies. 'He 
must overlook the unkempt condition of the 
fields. . . . Boisveyrac was not wont to 
make so poor a show . . . the estate, in fact, 
though not rich, had always been well kept 



3IO FORT AMITY 

up . . . the stonework was noted through- 
out New France, and every inch of timber 
(would M. le General observe?) thoroughly 
well seasoned. . . . Yes, those were the 
arms above the entrance — Noel quartering 
Tilly — two of the oldest families in the pro- 
vince . . . If M. le General took an interest in 
heraldry, these other quarterings were worth 
perusal . . . de Repentigny, de Contrecoeur, 
Traversy, St. Ours, de Valrennes, de la 
Mothe, d'Ailleboust . . . and the windmill 
would repay an ascent . . . the view from 
its summit was magnificent. . . .' 

Diane, seated in the boat and watching, 
saw him halt and point out the escutcheons ; 
saw him halt again in the gateway and 
spread out his arms to indicate the solidity 
of the walls ; could almost, reading his ges- 
tures, hear the words they explained ; and 
her cheeks burned with shame. 

''A fine estate ! " said a voice in the next 
boat. 

*'Yes, indeed," answered Bateese at her 
elbow; ''there is no Seigniory to compare 
with Boisveyrac. And we will live to wel- 
come you back to it, mademoiselle. The 
English are no despoilers, they tell me." 

She glanced at Dominique. He had filled 
a pipe, and, as he smoked, his eyes followed 
her uncle's gestures placidly. Scorn of him, 



THE RAPIDS 311 

scorn of herself, intolerable shame, rose in a 
flood together. 

*' If my uncle behaves like a roturiei-, it is 
because his mind is gone. Shall we spy on 
him and laugh ?— ghosts of those who are 
afraid to die ! " 

Father Launoy looked up from his brev- 
iary. 

" Mademoiselle is unjust," said he quietly. 
''To my knowledge, those servants of hers, 
whom she reproaches, have risked death and 
taken wounds, in part for her sake." 

Diane sat silent, gazing upon the river. 
Yes, she had been unjust, and she knew it. 
Felicite had told her how the garrison had 
rushed after Dominique to rescue her, and of 
the struggle in the stairway of the tower. 
Dominique bore an ugly cut, half-healed yet, 
reaching from his right eyebrow across the 
cheekbone — the gash of an Indian knife. 
Bateese could steer with his left hand only ; 
his right he carried in a sling. And the two 
men lying at this moment by Father Launoy 's 
feet had taken their wounds for her sake. 
Unjust she had been ; bitterly unjust. How 
could she explain the secret of her bitterness 
— that she despised herself? 

Boats were crowding thick around them 
now, many of them half filled with water. 
The crews, while they baled, had each a 



312 FORT AMITY 

separate tale to tell of their latest adventure; 
each, it seemed, had escaped destruction by 
a hair's-breadth. The Cedars had been 
worse even than the Long Saut. They 
laughed and boasted, wringing their clothes. 
The nearest flung questions at Dominique, 
at Bateese. The Cascades, they understood, 
were the worst in the whole chain of rapids, 
always excepting the La Chine. But the 
La Chine were not to be attempted ; the 
army would land above them, at Isle Perrot 
perhaps, or at the village near the falls, and 
cover the last nine or ten miles on foot. But 
what of the Buisson ? and of the Roches 
Fendues? 

More than an hour passed in this clamour, 
and still the boats continued to crowd 
around. The first-comers, having baled, 
were looking to their accoutrements, testing 
the powder in their flasks, repolishing the 
locks and barrels of their muskets. ''To be 
sure La Corne and his militiamen had dis- 
appeared, but there was still room for a 
skirmish between this and Lake St. Louis ; 
if he had posted himself on the bank below, 
he might prove annoying. The rapids were 
bad enough without the addition of being 
fired upon during the descent, when a man 
had work enough to hold tight by the gun- 
wale and say his prayers. Was the General 



THE RAPIDS 313 

sending a force down to clear La Corne 
out?" 

*' Diane!" 

A crowd of soldiers had gathered on the 
bank, shutting out all view of the Seigniory. 
Diane, turning at the sound of her uncle's 
voice, saw the men make way, and caught 
her breath. He was not alone. He came 
through the press triumphantly, dragging by 
the hand an Indian — an Indian who hung 
back from the river's brink with eyes averted, 
fastened on the ground — the man whom, of 
all men, she most feared to meet. 

''Diane, the General has been telling me 
— this honest fellow — we have been most 
remiss " 



M. Etienne panted as he picked his steps 
down the bank. His face was glowing. 

'* He understands a little French, it 

seems. I have the General's permission to 
give him a seat in our boat. He tells me 
he is averse to being thanked, but that is 
nonsense. I insisted on his coming." 

"You have thanked me once already, 
monsieur," urged John a Cleeve in a voice 
as low as he could pitch it, 

"But not sufficiently. You hear, Diane? 
— he speaks French ! I was confused at the 
time ; I did not gather " 

She felt Dominique's eyes upon her. Was 



314 FORT AMITY 

her face so white then ? He must not guess. 
. . . She held out her hand, commanding 
her voice to speak easily, wondering the 
while at the sound of it. 

"Welcome, my friend. My uncle is right ; 
we have been remiss " 

Her voice trailed off, as her eyes fell on 
Father Launoy. He was staring, not at her, 
but at the Indian ; curiously at first, then 
with dawning suspicion. 

Involuntarily she glanced again towards 
Dominique. He, too, slowly moved his 
gaze from her face and fastened it on the 
Indian. 

He knew. . . . Father Launoy knew. 
. . . Oh, when would the boats push off? 

They pushed off and fell into their stations 
at length, amid almost interminable shouting 
of orders and cross-shouting, pulling and 
backing of oars. She had stolen one look 
at Bateese. . . . He did not suspect . . . 
but, in the other boat, they knew. 

Her uncle's voice ran on like a brook. 
She could not look up, for fear of meeting 
her lover's eyes — yes, her lover's ! She was 
reckless now. They knew. She would de- 
ceive herself no longer. She was base — 
base. He stood close, and in his presence 
she was glad — fiercely, deliciously, desper- 
ately. She, betrayed in all her vows, was 



THE RAPIDS 315 

glad. The current ran smoothly. If only, 
beyond the next ledge, might lie annihila- 
tion ! 

The current ran with an oily smoothness. 
They were nearing the Roches Fendues. 

Dominique's boat led. 

A clear voice began to sing, high and 
loud, in a ringing tenor : 

" Malbrouck s'en va t'en guerre : 

Mironton, mironton, mirontaine. . ." 

At the first note John a Cleeve, glancing 
swiftly at Bateese, saw his body stiffen sud- 
denly with his hand on the tiller; saw his eyes 
travel forward, seeking his brother's ; saw his 
face whiten. Dominique stood erect, gazing 
back, challenging. Beyond him John caught 
a glimpse of Father Launoy looking up from 
his breviary ; and the priest's face, too, was 
white and fixed. 

Voices in the boats behind began to curse 
loudly; for '< Malbrouck" was no popular 
air with the English. But Bateese took up 
the chant : 

*' Malbrouck s'en va t'en guerre — 
Ne sais quand reviendra ! " 

They were swinging past Bout de I'lsle. 
Already the keel under foot was gathering 
way. From Bateese, who stood with eyes 
stiffened now and inscrutable, John looked 



3i6 FORT AMITY 

down upon Diane. She lifted her face with 
a wan smile, but she, too, was Hstening to 
the challenge flung back from the leading 
boat. 

" II reviendra-z a Paques ..." 

He flung one glance over his shoulder, and 
saw the channel dividing ahead. Dominique 
was leaning over, pressing down the helm to 
starboard. Over Dominique's arm Father 
Launoy stared rigidly. Father Joly, as if 
aware of something amiss, had cast out both 
hands and was grasping the gunwale. The 
boat, sucked into the roar of the rapids, shot 
down the left channel — the channel of death. 

" II reviendra-z k Paques, 
Ou—k la Trinitd ! " 

The voice was lost in the roar of the 
falls, now drumming loud in John's ears. 
He knew nothing of these rapids ; but two 
channels lay ahead and the choice between 
them. He leapt across M. Etienne, and 
hurling Bateese aside, seized the tiller and 
thrust it hard over, heading for the right. 

Peering back through the spray as he bent 
he saw the helmsmen astern staring — hesi- 
tating. They had but a second or two in 
which to choose. He shouted and shouted 
again — in English. But the tumbling waters 
roared high above his shouts. 



THE RAPIDS 317 

He reached out and gripping Bateese by 
the collar, forced the tiller into his hand. 
Useless now to look back and try to discover 
how many boats were following ! 

Bateese, with a sob, crept back to the 
tiller and steered. 



Not until the foot of the falls was reached 
did John know that the herd had followed 
him. But forty-six boats had followed 
Dominique's fatal lead : and of their crews 
ninety red-coated corpses tossed with Domi- 
nique's and the two priests' and spun in the 
eddies beneath the Grand Bouillie, 

At dawn next morning the sentries in Mon- 
treal caught sight of them drifting down past 
the walls, and carried the news. So New 
France learnt that its hour was near. 



CHAPTER XXVI 
DICK'S JUDGMENT 

TWO days later Amherst landed his 
troops at La Chine, marched them un- 
opposed to Montreal, and encamped before 
the city on its western side. Within the 
walls M. de Vaudreuil called a council of 
war. 

Resistance was madness. From east, south, 
w^est, the French commanders — Bourlamaque, 
Bougainville, Roquemaure, Dumas, La Corne 
— had all fallen back, deserted by their militias. 
The provincial army had melted down to two 
hundred men ; the troops of the line num- 
bered scarce above two thousand. The city, 
crowded with non-combatant refugees, held 
a bare fortnight's provisions. Its walls, built 
for defence against Indians, could not stand 
against the guns which Amherst was already 
dragging up from the river ; its streets of 
wooden houses awaited only the first shell to 
set them ablaze. 

On the eastern side Murray was moving 



DICK'S JUDGMENT 319 

closer, to encamp for the siege. To the 
south the tents of Haviland's army dotted 
the river shore. Seventeen thousand British 
and British-Colonials ringed about all that 
remained of New France, ready to end her 
by stroke of sword if Vaudreuil would not by 
stroke of pen. 

Next morning Bougainville sought Am- 
herst's tent and presented a bulky paper 
containing fifty-five articles of capitulation. 
Amherst read them through, and came to 
the demand that the troops should march 
out with arms, cannon, flags, and all the 
honours of war. 'Mnform the Governor," 
he answered, *'that the whole garrison of 
Montreal, and all other French troops in 
Canada, must lay down their arms, and 
undertake not to serve again in this war." 
Bougainville bore his message, and returned 
in a little while to remonstrate ; but in vain. 
Then Levis tried his hand, sending his quar- 
termaster-general to plead against terms so 
humiliating — ''terms," he wrote, "to which 
it will not be possible for us to subscribe." 
Amherst replied curtly that the terms were 
harsh, and he had made them so intention- 
ally ; they marked his sense of the conduct 
of the French throughout the war in exciting 
their Indian allies to atrocity and murder. 

So Fort William Henry was avenged at 



320 FORT AMITY 

length, in the humiliation of gallant men ; 
and human vengeance proved itself, perhaps, 
neither more nor less clumsy than usual. 

Vaudreuil tried to exact that the English 
should, on their side, pack off their Indians. 
He represented that the townsfolk of Mon- 
treal stood in terror of being massacred. 
Again Amherst refused. " No Frenchman," 
said he, *' surrendering under treaty has ever 
suffered outrage from the Indians of our 
army." This was on the 7th of September. 

Early on the 8th Vaudreuil yielded and 
signed the capitulation. Levis, in the name 
of the army, protested bitterly. "If the 
Marquis de Vaudreuil, through political 
motives, believes himself obliged to surren- 
der the colony at once, we beg his leave to 
withdraw with the troops of the line to Isle 
Sainte-Helene, to maintain there, on our own 
behalf, the honour of the King's arms." To 
this, of course, the Governor could not 
listen. Before the hour of surrender the 
French regiments burnt their flags. 

On the southern shore of the St. Law- 
rence, in the deepest recess of a small curv- 
ing bay, the afternoon sun fell through a 
screen of bulrushes upon a birch canoe and 
a naked man seated in the shallows beside it. 
In one hand he held out, level with his head, 



DICK'S JUDGMENT 321 

a lock of hair, dark and long and matted, 
while the other sheared at it with a razor. 
The razor flashed as he turned it this way 
and that against the sun. On his shoulders 
and raised upper arm a few water-drops 
glistened, for he had been swimming. 

The severed locks fell into the stream that 
rippled beside him through the bulrush 
stems. Some found a channel at once and 
were swept out of sight, others were caught 
against the stems and trailed out upon the 
current like queer water-flags. He laid the 
razor back in the canoe and, rising cau- 
tiously, looked about for a patch of clear, 
untroubled water to serve him for a mirror ; 
but small eddies and cross-currents dimpled 
the surface everywhere, and his search was 
not a success. Next he fetched forth from 
the canoe an earthenware pan with lye and 
charcoal, mixed a paste, and began to lather 
his head briskly. 

Twice he paused in his lathering. Before 
his shelter rolled the great river, almost two 
miles broad ; and clear across that distance, 
from Montreal, came the sound of drums 
beating, bells ringing, men shouting and 
cheering. In the Place d'Armes, over yonder, 
Amherst was parading his troops to receive 
the formal surrender of the Marquis de Vau- 
dreuil. Murray and Haviland were there, 

Y 



322 FORT AMITY 

leading* their brigades, with Gage and Fraser 
and Burton ; Carleton and Haldimand and 
Howe — Howe of the Heights of Abraham, 
brother of him who fell in the woods under 
Ticonderoga ; the great Johnson of the Mo- 
hawk Valley, whom the Iroquois obeyed ; 
Rogers of the backwoods and his brothers, 
bravest of the brave ; Schuyler and Lyman : 
and over against them, drinking the bitterest 
cup of their lives, Levis and Bourlamaque 
and Bougainville, Dumas, Pouchot, and de 
la Corne — victors and vanquished, all the 
surviving heroes of the five years' struggle 
face to face in the city square. 

Hi motus animoi'itm atqiic hcBC certamina 
tanta — the half of North America was chang- 
ing hands at this moment, and how a bare 
two miles' distance diminished it all ! What 
child's play it made of the rattling drums ! 
From his shelter John a Cleeve could see 
almost the whole of the city's river front — all 
of it, indeed, but a furlong or two at its 
western end ; and the clean atmosphere 
showed up even the loopholes pierced in the 
outer walls of the great Seminary. Above 
the old-fashioned square bastions of the 
citadel a white flag floated ; and that this 
flag bore a red cross instead of the golden 
lilies it had borne yesterday was the one and 
only sign, not easily discerned, of a reversal 



DICK'S JUDGMENT 323 

in the fates of two nations. The steeples 
and turrets of Montreal, the old windmill, 
the belfry and high-pitched roof of Notre 
Dame de Bonsecours, the massed buildings 
of the Seminary and the Hotel Dieu, the 
spire of the Jesuits, rose against the green 
shaggy slopes of the mountain, and over the 
mountain the sky paled tranquilly toward 
evening. Sky, mountain, forests, mirrored 
belfry and broad rolling river — a permanent 
peace seemed to rest on them all. 

Half a mile down-stream, where Havi- 
land's camp began, the men of the nearest 
picket were playing chuck-farthing. Duty 
deprived them of the spectacle in the Place 
d'Armes, and thus, as soldiers, they solaced 
themselves. Through the bulrush stems 
John heard their voices and laughter. 

A canoe came drifting down the river, 
across the opening of the little creek. A 
man sat in it with his paddle laid across his 
knees ; and as the stream bore him past, his 
eyes scanned the water inshore. John re- 
cognised Bateese at once; but Bateese, after 
a glance, went by unheeding. It was no 
living man he sought. 

John finished his lathering at leisure, 
w^aded out beyond the rushes and cast him- 
self forward into deep water. He swam a 
few strokes, ducked his head, dived, and 



324 FORT AMITY 

swam on again ; turned on his back and 
floated, staring up into the sky; breasted the 
strong current and swam against it, fighting 
it in sheer lightness of heart. Boyhood came 
back to him with his cleansing, and a boyish 
memory — of an hour between sunset and 
moonrise ; of a Devonshire lane, where the 
harvest waggons had left wisps of hay dang- 
ling from the honeysuckles ; of a triangular 
patch of turf at the end of the lane, and a 
whitewashed Meeting-House with windows 
open, and through the windows a hymn pour- 
ing forth upon the Sabbath twilight — 

** Time, like an ever-rolling stream, 
Bears all his sons away . . . ." 

An ever-rolling stream ! It would bear 
him down, and the generals yonder, victors 
and vanquished, drums and trumpets, hopes 
and triumphs and despair — overwhelming, 
making equal the greater with the less. But 
meanwhile, how good to be alive and a man, 
to swim and breast it ! So this river, if he 
fought it, would out-tire him, sweep him 
away and roll on unheeding, majestic, care- 
less of life and of time. But for this moment 
he commanded it. Let his new life bring 
what it might, this hour the river should be 
his servant, should prepare and wash him 
clean, body and soul. He lifted his head, 



DICK'S JUDGMENT 325 

shaking the water from his eyes, and the 
very volume of the lustral flood contented 
him. He felt the strong current pressing 
against his arms, and longed to embrace it 
all. And again, tickled by the absurdity of 
his fancies, he lay on his back and laughed 
up at the sky. 

He swam to shore, flung himself down, 
and panted. Across the river, by the landing- 
stage beneath the citadel, a band was play- 
ing down Haviland's brigade to its boats ; 
and one of the boats was bringing a man 
whom John had great need to meet. When 
the sun had dried and warmed him, he 
dressed at leisure, putting on a suit complete, 
with striped shirt, socks, and cowhide boots 
purchased from a waterside trader across 
the river and paid for with the last of his 
moneys earned in the wilderness. The boots, 
though a world too wide, cramped him pain- 
fully ; and he walked up and down the bank 
for a minute or two, to get accustomed to 
them, before strolling down to meet the 
challenge of the pickets. 

They were men of the 17th, and John 
inquired for their adjutant. They pointed 
to the returning boats. The corporal in 
charge of the picket, taking note of his 
clothes, asked if he belonged to Loring's 
batteau - men, and John answered that he 



326 FORT AMITY 

had come down with them through the 
falls. 

'* A nice mess you made of it up yonder," 
was the corporal's comment. ''Two days 
we were on fatigue duty picking up the 
bodies you sent down to us, and burying 
them. Only just now a fellow came along 
in a canoe — a half-witted kind of Canadian. 
Said he was searching for his brother." 

"Yes," said John, "I saw him go by. I 
know the man." 

" Hell of a lot of brother he's likely to 
find. We've tidied up the whole length of 
the camp front. But there's corpses yet, a 
mile or two below, they say. I sent him 
down to take his pick." 

He put a question or two about the catas- 
trophe. "Scandalous sort of bungle, " he pro- 
nounced it, being alike ignorant of the 
strength of the rapids, and fain, as an 
honest soldier of Haviland's army, to take 
a discrediting view of anything done by 
Amherst's. He waxed very scornful indeed. 

" Now 7ve was allowing you didn't find 
the stream fast enough, by the way you 
kept us cooling our heels here." Perceiving 
that John was indisposed to quarrel, he went 
wearily back to his chuck-farthing. 

John sat down and waited, scanning the 
boats as they drew to shore. Dick, whom 



DICK'S JUDGMENT 327 

he had left an ensign, was now adjutant of 
the 17th. This meant, of course, that he 
had done creditably and made himself felt. 
It meant certain promotion, too; Dick being 
the very man, as adjutant, to lick a regiment 
into shape. John could not help pondering 
a little, by contrast, on his own career, but 
without any tinge of jealousy or envy. Dick 
owed nothing to luck ; would honestly earn 
or justify any favour that Fortune might 
grant. 

The young adjutant, stepping ashore, 
swung round on his heel to call an order 
to the crowding boats. His voice, albeit 
John thrilled to the sound of it, was not 
the voice he remembered. It had hardened 
somehow. And his face, when John caught 
sight of it in profile, was not the face of a 
man on the sunny side of favour. It was 
manlier, more resolute perhaps than of old, 
but it had put on reserve and showed even 
some discontent in the set of the chin — a 
handsome face yet, and youthful, and full 
of eager strength ; but with a shadow on it 
(thought John) that it had not worn in the 
days when Dick Montgomery took his young 
ease in Sion and criticised men and generals. 

He was handling the disembarkation well. 
Clearly, too, his men respected and liked 
him. But (thought John again) who could 



328 FORT AMITY 

help loving him ? John had not bargained 
for the rush of tenderness that shook him as 
he stood there unperceived, and left him 
trembling. For a moment he longed only 
to escape ; and then, mastered by an impulse, 
scarce knowing what he did, stepped forward 
and touched his cousin's arm. 

"Dick ! " he said softly. 

Montgomery turned, cast a sharp glance 
at him, and fell back staring. 

"F(9?^/" John saw the lips form the 
word, but no sound came. He himself was 
watching Dick's eyes. 

Yes, as incredulity passed, joy kindled in 
them, and the old affection. For once in his 
life Richard Montgomery fairly broke down. 

''Jack!" — he stretched out both hands. 

*'We heard You were not among the 

prisoners " His voice stammered to a 

halt : his eyes brimmed. 

"Come, and hear all about it. Oh, Dick, 
Dick, 'tis good to see your face again ! " 

They linked arms, and Dick suffered John 
to lead him back to the canoe among the 
rushes. 

"My mother . . . ?" asked John, halting 
there by the brink. 

"You haven't heard?" Dick turned his 
face and stared away across the river. 



DICK'S JUDGMENT 329 

*'I have heard nothing. . . . Is she dead?" 

Dick bent his head gravely. ''A year 
since. . . . Your brother Philip wrote the 
news to me. It was sudden : just a failure 
of the heart, he said. She had known of the 
danger for years, but concealed it." 

John seated himself on the bank, and 
gazed out over the river for a minute or so 
in silence. ''She believed me dead, of 
course?" he began, but did not ask how the 
blow had affected her. Likely enough Dick 
would not know. "Is there any more bad 
news?" he asked at length. 

" None. Your brother is well, and there's 
another child born. The a Cleeves are not 
coming to an end just yet. No more ques- 
tions, Jack, until you've told me all about 
yourself! " 

He settled down to listen, and John, 
propping himself on an elbow, began his 
tale. 

Twice or thrice during the narrative Dick 
furrowed his brows in perplexity. When, how- 
ever, John came to tell of his second year's 
sojourn with the Ojibways, he sat up with a 
jerk and stared at his cousin in a blank 
dismay. 

" But, good Lord ! You said just now 
that this fellow — this Menehwehna — had 
promised to help you back to the army, as 



33° FORT AMITY 

soon as Spring came. Did he break his 
word, then ? " 

*' No : he would have kept his word. But 
I didn't want to return." 

"You didn't — want — to return!" Dick 
repeated the words slowly, trying to grasp 
them. '*Man alive, were you clean mad? 
Don't you see what cards you held? Oh," 
he groaned, "you're not going on to tell me 
that you threw them away — the chance of a 
lifetime ! " 

" I don't see," answered John simply. 

Dick sprang up and paced the bank with 
his hands clenched, half lifted. "God! if 
such a chance had fallen to me ! " You had 
intercepted two despatches, one of which 
might have hurried the French up from 
Montreal here to save Fort Frontenac. 
Wherever you could, you bungled ; but you 
rode on the full tide of luck. And even 
when you tumbled in love with this girl — oh, 
you needn't deny it ! — even when you walked 
straight into the pitfall that ninety-nine men 
in a hundred would have seen and avoided — 
your very folly pulled you out of the mess ! 
You escaped, by her grace, having foiled 
two despatches and possessed yourself of 
knowledge that might have saved Amherst 
from wasting ten minutes where he wasted 
two days. And now you stare at me when 



DICK'S JUDGMENT 331 

I tell you that you held the chance of a life- 
time ! Why, man, you could have asked 
what promotion you willed ! Some men 

have luck ! " Speech failed him and he 

cast himself down at full length on the turf 
again. ''Go on," he commanded grimly. 

And John resumed, but in another, colder 
tone. The rest of the story he told per- 
functorily, omitting all mention of the fight 
on the flagstaff tower and telling no more 
than was needful of the last adventure of the 
rapids. Either he or Dick had changed. 
Having begun, he persevered, but now with- 
out hope to make himself understood. 

''Did ever man have such luck?" grum- 
bled Dick. " You have made yourself a 
deserter. You did all you could to earn 
being shot ; you walked back, and again did 
all you could to leave Amherst no other 
choice but to shoot you. And, again, you 
blunder into saving half an army ! Have 
you seen Amherst?" 

" He sent for me at La Chine, to reward 
me. 

"You told him all, of course?" 

" I did — or almost all ! " 

"Then, since he has not shot you, I pre- 
sume you are now restored to the Forty- 
sixth, and become the just pride of the 
regiment? " 



332 FORT AMITY 

Dick's voice had become bitter with a 
bitterness at which John wondered ; but all 
his answer was : 

" Look at these clothes. They will tell 
you if I am restored to the Forty-sixth." 

''So that was more than Amherst could 
bring himself to stomach ? " 

" On the contrary, he gave me my choice. 
But I am resigning my commission." 

"Eh? Well, I suppose your monstrous 
luck with the despatches had earned you his 
leniency. You told him of Fort Frontenac, 
I presume ? " 

" I did not tell him of that. But some 
one else had taken care that he should learn 
something of it." 

"The girl? You don't mean to tell me 
that your luck stepped in once again ? " 

"Mademoiselle Diane must have guessed 
that I meant to tell the General all. She 
left a sealed letter which he opened in my 
presence. As for my luck," continued John 
— and now it was his turn to speak bitterly — 
"you may think how I value it when I tell 
you how the letter ended. With the Gene- 
ral's help, it said, she was hiding herself for 
ever ; and as a man of honour I must neither 
seek her nor hope for sight of her again." 

And Dick's comment finally proved to 
John that between them these two years had 



DICK'S JUDGMENT 333 

fixed a gulf impassable. "Well, and you 
ought to respect her wishes," he said. 
'* She interfered to save you, if ever a 
woman saved a man." He was striding to 
and fro again on the bank. *'And what 
will you do now?" he demanded, halting 
suddenly. 

''The General thinks Murray will be the 
new Governor, and promises to recommend 
me to him. There's work to be done in 
reducing the outlying French forts and 
bringing the Indians to reason. Probably 
I shall be sent west." 

"You mean to live your life out in 
Canada? " 
"I do." 

"Tell me at least that you have given up 
hope of this girl." 

John flushed. "I shall never seek her," 
he answered. "But while life lasts I shall 
not give up hope of seeing her once again." 
"And I am waiting for my captaincy," 
said Dick grimly ; "who with less than half 
your luck would have commanded a regi- 
ment ! " 

He swung about suddenly to confront a 
corporal — John's critical friend of the picket 
■ — who had come up the bank seeking him. 

"Beg pardon, sir," said the corporal, 
saluting, " but there's a Canadian below that 



334 FORT AMITY 

has found a corpse along-shore, and wants 
to bury him on his own account." 

"That will be Bateese Guyon," said John. 
They walked together down the shore to the 
spot where Bateese bent over his brother. 

**This is the man," said he, *'who led us 
through the Roches Fendues. Respect his 
dead body, Dick." 

''I hope," said Dick, half-lifting his hat 
as he stood by the corpse, '' I can respect a 
man who did a brave deed and died for his 
country." 



CHAPTER XXVII 
PRES-DE-VILLE 

FIFTEEN years have gone by, and a few 
months. In December 1775, on the 
rock of Quebec, Great Britain clung with a 
last desperate grip upon Canada, which on 
that September day in 1760 had passed so 
completely into her hands. 

All through December the snow had fallen 
almost incessantly ; and almost incessantly, 
through the short hours of daylight, the 
American riflemen, from their lodgings in 
the suburbs close under the walls, had kept 
up a fire on the British defenders of Quebec. 
For the assailants of Great Britain now were 
her own children ; and the man who led 
them was a British subject still, and but three 
years ago had been a British officer. 

Men see their duty by different lights, but 
Richard Montgomery had always seen his 
clearly. He had left the British Army for 
sufficient cause ; had sought America, and 
married an American wife. He served the 

335 



336 FORT AMITY 

cause of political freedom now, and meant 
to serve it so as to win an imperishable 
name. The man whom King George had 
left for ten years a captain had been pro- 
moted by Congress Brigadier-General at a 
stroke. It recognised the greatness of which 
his own soul had always assured him. 
''Come what will," he had promised his 
young wife at parting, ''you shall never be 
ashamed of me." His men adored him for 
his enthusiasm, his high and almost boyish 
courage, his dash, his bright self-confidence. 

And his campaign had been a triumph. 
Ticonderoga and Crown Point had fallen 
before him. He had swept down the Riche- 
lieu, capturing St. John's, Chambly, Sorel. 
Montreal had capitulated without a blow. 
And so success had swept him on to the 
cliffs of Quebec — there to dash itself and fail 
as a spent wave. 

He would not acknowledge this ; not 
though small-pox had broken out among his 
troops and they, remembering that their 
term of service was all but expired, began to 
talk of home ; not though his guns, mounted 
on frozen mounds, had utterly failed to batter 
a way into the city. As a subaltern he had 
idolised Wolfe, and here on the ground of 
Wolfe's triumphant stroke he still dreamed 
of rivalling it. In Quebec a cautious phleg- 



PRES-DE-VILLE 337 

matic British General sat and waited, keep- 
ing, as the moonless nights drew on, his 
officers ready against surprise. For a week 
they had slept in their clothes and with their 
arms beside them. 

From the lower town of Quebec a road, 
altered now beyond recognition, ran along 
the base of Cape Diamond between the cliff 
and the river. As it climbed it narrowed to 
a mere defile, known as Pres-de-Ville, having 
the scarped rock on one hand and on the 
other a precipice dropping almost to the 
water's edge. Across this defile the British 
had drawn a palisade and built, on the edge 
of the pass above, a small three-pounder 
battery, with a hangar in its rear to shelter 
the defenders. 

Soon after midnight on the last morning 
of the year, a man came battling his way 
down from the upper town to the Pres-de- 
Ville barrier. A blinding snow-storm raged 
through the darkness, and although it blew 
out of the north the cliff caught its eddies 
and beat them back swirling about the use- 
less lantern he carried. The freshly fallen 
snow encumbering his legs held him steady 
against the buffets of the wind ; and foot by 
foot, feeling his way — for he could only 
guess how near lay the edge of the precipice 



338 FORT AMITY 

— he struggled toward the stream of light 
issuing from the hangar'. 

As he reached it the squall cleared sud- 
denly. He threw back his snow-caked hood 
and gazed up at the citadel on the cliff. 
The walls aloft there stood out brilliant 
against the black heavens, and he muttered 
approvingly ; for it was he who, as Officer of 
the Works, had suggested to the Governor 
the plan of hanging out lanterns and fire- 
pots from the salient angles of the bastions ; 
and he flattered himself that, if the enemy 
intended an assault up yonder, not a dog 
could cross the great ditch undetected. 

But it appeared to him that the men in the 
hangar were not watching too alertly, or they 
would never have allowed him to draw so 
near unchallenged. 

He was lifting a hand to hammer on the 
rough door giving entrance from the rear, 
when it was flung open and a man in pro- 
vincial uniform peered out upon the night. 

"Is that you, Captain Chabot?" asked 
the visitor. 

The man in the doorway smothered an ex- 
clamation. ''The wind was driving the 
snow in upon us by the shovelful," he ex- 
plained. "We are keeping a sharp enough 
look-out down the road." 

" So I perceived," answered John a Cleeve 



PRES-DE-VILLE 339 

curtly, and stepped past him into the hangar. 
About fifty men stood packed there in a 
steam of breath around the guns — the most 
of them Canadians and British militiamen, 
with a sprinkling of petticoated sailors. 

''Who is working these? " asked John a 
Cleeve, laying his hand on the nearest three- 
pounder. 

"Captain Barnsfare." A red-faced sea- 
man stepped forward and saluted awk- 
wardly : Adam Barnsfare, master of the Tell 
transport. 

'' Your crew all right, captain ? " 

"All right, sir." 

"The Governor sends me down with word 
that he believes the enemy means business 
to-night. Where's your artilleryman ? " 

"Sergeant McQuarters, sir? He stepped 
down, a moment since, to the barrier, to keep 
the sentry awake." 

John a Cleeve glanced up at the lamp 
smoking under the beam. 

" You have too much light here," he said. 
" If McQuarters has the guns well pointed, 
you need only one lantern for your lint- 
stocks." 

He blew out the candle in his own, and 
reaching up a hand, lowered the light until 
it was all but extinct. As he did so his hood 
fell back and the lamp-rays illumined his up- 



340 FORT AMITY 

turned face for two or three seconds ; a tired 
face, pinched just now with hard hving and 
wakefulness, but moulded and firmed by dis- 
cipline. Fifteen years had bitten their lines 
deeply about the under-jaw and streaked the 
temples with grey. But they had been years 
of service ; and, whatever he had missed in 
them, he had found self-reliance. 

He stepped out upon the pent of the han- 
gar^ and, with another glance up at the 
night, plunged into the deep snow, and 
trudged his way down to the barricade. 

'' Sergeant McQuarters ! " 

'' Here, sir ! " The Highlander saluted in 
the darkness, ''Any word from up yonder, 
sir?" A faint glow touched the outline of 
his face as he lifted it toward the illumin- 
ated citadel. 

"The Governor looks for an assault to- 
night. So you know me, McQuarters?" 

"By your voice, sir," answered Mc- 
Quarters, and added quaintly, "Ah, but it 
was different weather in those days ! " 

"Ay," said John, " we have come around 
by strange roads ; you an artilleryman, 

and I " He broke off, musing. For a 

moment, standing there knee-deep in snow, 
he heard the song of the waters, saw the 
forests again, the dripping ledges, the cool, 
pendant boughs, and smelt the fragrance of 



PRES-DE-VILLE 341 

the young spruces. The spell of the wood- 
land silence held him, and he listened 
again for the rustle of wild life in the under- 
growth. 

''Hist! What was that ? " 

''Another squall coming, sir. It's on us 
too, and a rasper ! " 

But, as the snow-charged gust swept down 
and blinded them in its whirl, John leaned 
towards McQuarters and lifted his voice 
sharply. 

"It was more than that — Hark you!" 
He gripped McQuarters' arm and pointed to 
the barricade, over which for an instant a 
point of steel had glimmered. " Back, man ! 
— back to the guns ! " he yelled to the 
sentry. But the man was already running ; 
and together the three floundered back to 
the hangar. Behind them blows were already 
sounding above the howl of the wind ; blows 
of musket-butts hammering on the wooden 
palisade. 

"Steady, men," grunted McQuarters as 
he reached the pent. "Give them time to 
break an opening — their files will be nicely 
huddled by this." 

John a Cleeve glanced around and was 
satisfied. Captain Chabot had his men lined 
up and ready : two ranks of them, the front 
rank kneeling. 



342 FORT AMITY 

"Give the word, my lad," said Captain 
Barnsfare cheerfully, lintstock in hand. 

'' Fire then ! — and God defend Quebec ! " 

The last words were lost in an explosion 
which seemed to lift the roof off the hangar. 
In the flare of it John saw the faces of the 
enemy — their arms outstretched and snatch- 
ing at the palisade. Down upon them the 
grape - shot whistled, tearing through the 
gale it outstripped, and close on it followed 
the Canadians' volleys. 

Barnsfare had sprung to the second gun. 
McQuarters nodded to him. . . . 

For ten minutes the guns swept the pass. 
The flame of them lit up no faces now by 
the shivered palisade, and between the ex- 
plosions came no cheering from down the 
road. The riflemen loaded, fired, and re- 
loaded ; but they aimed into darkness and 
silence. 

Captain Chabot lifted a hand. 

The squall had swept by. High in the 
citadel, drums were beating ; and below, 
down by the waterside to the eastward, 
volleys of musketry crackled sharply. But 
no sound came up the pass of Fres-de-Ville. 

''That will be at the Sault-au-Matelot 
barrier," said McQuarters, nodding his head 
in the direction of the musketry. 



PRES-DE-VILLE 343 

"We've raked decks here, anyhow," Cap- 
tain Barnsfare commented, peering down the 
road; and one or two Canadians volunteered 
to descend and explore the palisade. For 
a while Captain Chabot demurred, fearing 
that the Americans might have withdrawn 
around the angle of the cliff and be holding 
themselves in ambush there. 

*'A couple of us could make sure of that," 
urged John. "They have left their wounded, 
at all events, as you may hear by the groans. 
With your leave, Captain " 

Captain Chabot yielded the point, and 
John with a corporal and a drummer de- 
scended the pass. 

A dozen bodies lay heaped by the palisade. 
For the moment he could not stay to attend 
to them, but, passing through, followed the 
road down to the end of its curve around 
the cliff. Two corpses lay here of men who, 
mortally wounded, had run with the crowd 
before dropping to rise no more. The tracks 
in the snow told plainly enough that the 
retreat had been a stampede. 

Returning to the palisade he shouted up 
that the coast was clear, and fell to work 
searching the faces of the fallen. The fresh 
snow, in which they lay deep, had already 
frozen about them ; and his eye, as he swung 
the lantern slowly round, fell on a hand and 



344 FORT AMITY 

arm which stood up stiffly above the white 
surface. 

He stepped forward, flashing his lantern 
on the dead man's face — and dropped on his 
knees beside it. 

*' Do you know him, sir?" McQuarters' 
voice was speaking, close by. 

"I know him," answered John dully, and 
groped and found a thin blade which lay 
beside the corpse. '' He was my cousin, 
and once my best friend." 

He felt the edge of the sword with his 
gloved hand, all the while staring at the arm 
pointing upwards and fixed in the rigor of 
death, frozen in its last gesture as Richard 
Montgomery had lifted it to wave forward 
his men. And as if the last thirty or forty 
minutes had never been, he found himself 
saying to McQuarters : 

"We have come around by strange roads, 
sergeant, and some of us have parted with 
much on the way." 

He looked up ; but his gaze, travelling 
past McQuarters who stooped over the 
corpse, fell on the figure of a woman who 
had approached and halted at three paces' 
distance ; a hooded figure in the dress of the 
Hospitalieres. 

Something in her attitude told him that 
she had heard. He arose, holding the Ian- 



PRES-DE-VILLE 345 

tern high ; and stared, shaking, into a face 
which no uncomely linen swathings could 
disguise from him — into eyes which death 
only would teach him to forget. 

The fatigue-party lifted the corpse. So 
Richard Montgomery entered Quebec as he 
had promised — a General of Brigade. 

The drums had ceased to call the alarm 
from the Citadel ; musketry no longer 
crackled in the riverside quarter of Sault-au- 
Matelot. The assault had been beaten off, 
and close on four hundred prisoners were 
being marched up the hill, followed by 
crowds of excited Quebecers. But John a 
Cleeve roamed the streets at random, alone, 
unconscious that all the while he gripped the 
hilt of his cousin's naked sword. 

He was due to carry his report to the 
Governor. By-and-by he remembered this, 
and ploughed his way up the snowy incline 
to the Citadel. The sentry told him that the 
Governor was at the Seminary ; had gone 
down half an hour ago, to number and take 
the names of the prisoners. John turned back. 

Some two hundred prisoners were drawn 
up in the great hall of the Seminary, and 
from the doorway John spied the Governor 
at the far end, interrogating them. 

'' Eh ? " Carleton turned, caught sight of 



346 FORT AMITY 

him and smiled gaily. '*I fancy, Mr. a 
Cleeve, your post is going to be a sinecure 
after to-night's work. Chabot reports that 
you were at Pres-de-Ville and discovered 
General Montgomery's body." 

He turned at the sound of a murmur 
among the prisoners behind him. One or 
two had turned to the wall and were weep- 
ing audibly. Others stared at John and one 
or two pointed. 

John, following their eyes, looked down 
at the sword in his hand and stammered an 
apology. 

'* Excuse me — I did not know that I car- 
ried it. . . . Sirs, believe me, I intended no 
offence ! Richard Montgomery was my 
cousin." 

From the Seminary he walked back to his 
quarters, meaning to snatch a few hours' 
sleep before daybreak. But having lit his 
candle, he found that he could not undress. 
The narrow room stifled him. He flung the 
sword on his bed, and went down to the 
streets again. 

Dawn found him pacing the narrow side- 
walk opposite a small log house in St. Louis 
Street. Lights shone from the upper storey. 
In the room to the right they had laid Mont- 
gomery's body, and were arraying it for 
burial. 



PRES-DE-VILLE 347 

The house door opened, and a lamp in 
the passage behind it cast a broadening ray 
across the snow. A woman stepped out, 
and, in the act of closing the door, caught 
sight of him. He made no doubt that she 
would pass up the street ; but, after seeming 
to hesitate, she came slowly over and stood 
before him. 

'' You knew me, then ? " she asked. 

He bent his head humbly. 

" I have seen you many times, and heard 
of you," she continued. '* I heard what you 
said, down yonder. . . . Has life been so 
bitter for you ? " 

"Diane!" 

He turned towards the house. *' He has 
a noble face," she said, gazing up at the 
bright window. 

'* He was a great man." 

'' And yet he fought in the end against his 
country." 

" He believed that he did right." 

" Should jj/c/^ have believed it right? " 

John was silent. 

''John!" 

He gave a start at the sound of his name 
and she smiled faintly. 

"I have learnt to say it in English, you see." 

"Do not mock me, mademoiselle ! Fifteen 
years " 



348 FORT AMITY 

''That is just what I was going to say. 
Fifteen years is a very long time — and — and 
it has not been easy for me, John. I do not 
think I can do without you any longer." 

So in the street, under the dawn, they 
kissed for the first time. 



EPILOGUE 

I 

HUDSON RIVER 

** II reviendra-z k Paques, 
Ou— ^ la Trinite ! " 

ON a summer's afternoon of the year 
1818, in the deep verandah of a house 
terraced high above the Hudson, a small 
company stood expectant. Schuylers and 
Livingstones were there, with others of the 
great patroon families ; one or two in com- 
plete black, and all wearing some badge of 
mourning. Some were young, others well 
advanced in middle life ; but amidst them, 
and a little apart, reclined a lady to whose 
story the oldest had listened in his childhood. 
She lay back in an invalid chair, with her 
face set toward the noble river sweeping into 
view around the base of a wooded bluff, and 
toward the line of its course beyond, where 
its hidden waters furrowed the forests to the 
northward and divided hill from hill. Yet to 

349 



350 FORT AMITY 

her eyes the landscape was but a blur, and 
she saw it only in memory. 

For forty-three years she had worn black 
and a widow's goffered cap. The hair 
beneath it was thin now, and her body frail 
and very far on its decline to the grave. On 
the table at her elbow lay a letter beside a 
small field-glass, towards which, once and 
again, she stretched out a hand. 

"It is heavy for you, aunt," said her 
favourite grandniece, who stood at the back 
of her chair — a beautiful girl in a white 
frock, high-waisted and tied with a broad, 
black sash. ''We will tell you when they 
come in sight." 

" I know, my dear ; 1 know. It was only 
to make sure." 

' ' But you tried yesterday, and with the glass 
your sight was as good as mine, almost." 

''Even so short a while makes a differ- 
ence, now. You cannot understand that, 
Janet; you will, some day." 

"We will tell you," the girl repeated, "as 
soon as ever they come in sight ; perhaps 
before. We may see the smoke first be- 
tween the trees, you know." 

"Ay," the old lady answered, and added, 
"There was no such thing in those days." 
Her hand went out toward the field-glass 
again, and rested, trembling a little, on the 



HUDSON RIVER 



351 



edge of the table. "I thought— yesterday — 
that the trees had grown a good deal. They 
have closed in, and the river is narrower ; or 
perhaps it looks narrower, through a glass." 

The men at the far end of the verandah, 
who had been talking apart while they 
scanned the upper bends of the river, 
lowered their voices suddenly. They had 
heard a throbbing sound to the northward ; 
either the beat of a drum or the panting 
stroke of a steamboat's paddles. 

All waited, with their eyes on the distant 
woods. By-and-by a film of dark smoke 
floated up as through a crevice in the 
massed tree-tops, lengthened, and spread 
itself in the sunlight. The throbbing grew 
louder — the beat of a drum, slow and 
funereal, with the clank of paddle-wheels 
filling its pauses. And now — hark! — a band 
playing the Dead March ! 

The girl knelt and lifted the glass, ready 
focussed. The failing woman leaned for- 
ward, and with fingers that trembled on the 
tube, directed it where the river swept 
broadly around the headland. 

What did she see ? At first an ugly steam- 
boat nosing into view and belching smoke 
from its long funnel ; then a double line of 
soldiers crowding the deck, and between 
their lines what seemed at first to be a black 



352 FORT AMITY 

mound with a scarlet bar across it. But the 
mound was the plumed hearse of her 
husband, and the scarlet bar the striped flag 
of the country for which he had died — his 
adopted country, long since invited to her 
seat among the nations. 

The men in the verandah had bared their 
heads. They heard a bell ring on board the 
steamboat. Her paddles ceased to rotate, 
and after a moment began to churn the 
river with reversed motion, holding the boat 
against its current. The troops on her deck, 
standing with reversed arms ; the muffled 
drums ; the half-masted flag ; all saluted a 
hero and the widow of a hero. 

So, after forty-three years, Richard Mont- 
gomery returned to the wife he had left with 
a promise that, come what might, she should 
be proud of him. 

Proud she was ; she, a worn old woman 
sitting in the shadow of death, proud of a 
dry skeleton and a handful of dust under 
a crape pall. And they had parted in the 
heyday of youth, young and ardent, with 
arms passionately loth to untwine. 

What did her eyes seek beneath the pall, 
the plumes, the flag ? Be sure she saw him 
laid there at his manly length, inert, with 
cheeks only a little paler than they had been 
as he stood looking down into her eyes a 



HUDSON RIVER 



353 



moment before he strode away. In truth, 
the searchers, opening his grave in Quebec, 
had found a few bones, and a skull from 
which, as they lifted it, a musket-ball dropped 
back into the rotted coffin ; these, and a lock 
of hair, tied with a leathern thong. 

They did not bring him ashore to her. 
Even after forty years his return must be for 
a moment only ; his country still claimed him. 
The letter beside her was from Governor 
Clinton, written in courtliest words, telling 
her of the grave in New York prepared for 
him beneath the cenotaph set up by Con- 
gress many years before. 

Again a bell rang sharply, the paddles 
ceased backing and ploughed forward again. 
To the sound of muffled drums he passed 
down the river, and out of her sight for ever. 



II 

THE PHANTOM GUARD 

JUST a hundred years have passed since 
the assault on Pres-de-Ville. It is the 
last day of 1875, and in the Citadel above 
the cliflf the Commandant and his lady are 
holding a ball. Outside the warm rooms 
winter binds Quebec. The St. Lawrence 
is frozen over, and the copings and escarp- 
ments of the old fortress sparkle white under 
a flying moon. 

The Commandant's lady had decreed fancy 
dress for her dancers, and further, that their 
costumes shall be those of 1775. The Com- 
mandant himself wears the antique uniform 
of the Royal Artillery, and some of his 
guests salute him in the very coats, and 
carry the very swords, their ancestors wore 
this night a hundred years ago. They pass 
up the grand staircase hung with standards 
— golden leopards of England, golden irises 
of France, the Dominion ensign, the Stars 
and Stripes — and come face to face with a 

354 



THE PHANTOM GUARD 355 

trophy, on the design of which Captain 
Larne of the B Battery has spent some pious 
hours. Here, above stacks of muskets piled 
over drums and trumpets, is draped the red 
and black " rebel " pennant so that its folds 
fall over the escutcheon of the United 
States ; and against this hangs a sword, 
heavily craped, with the letters R. LP. be- 
neath it. 

It is the same thin blade of steel which 
dropped on the snow, its hilt warm from 
Richard Montgomery's hand, as he turned 
to wave forward his men. His enemies 
salute it to-night. 

They pass into the upper ballroom. They 
are met to dance a new year in, and the 
garrison band is playing a waltz of Strauss's 
— ''Die guten alten Zeiten." So dance 
follows dance, and the hours fly by to 
midnight — outside, the moon in chase past 
the clouds and over fields and wastes of snow 
— inside, the feet of dancers warming to 
their work under the clustered lights. 

But on the stroke of midnight a waltz 
ceases suddenly. From the lower ballroom 
the high, clear note of a trumpet rings out, 
silencing the music of the bandsmen. A 
panel has flown open there and a trumpeter 
steps forth blowing a call which, as it dies 
away, is answered by a skirl of pipes and 



356 FORT AMITY 

tapping of drums from a remote corner of 
the barracks. The guests fall back as the 
sound swells on the night, drawing nearer. 
Pipes are shrieking now ; the rattle of drums 
shakes the windows. Two folding doors fall 
wide, and through them stalks a ghostly 
guard headed by the ghost of Sergeant 
Hugh McQuarters, in kilt and tartan and 
cross-belt yet spotted with the blood of a 
brave Highlander who died in 1775, defend- 
ing Quebec. The guard looks neither to 
right nor to left ; it passes on through hall 
and passage and ballroom, halts beneath 
Montgomery's sword, salutes it in silence, 
and vanishes. 

Some of the ladies are the least bit scared. 
But the men are pronouncing it a brilliant 
coup de theatre^ and presently crowd about 
the trophy, discussing Montgomery and what 
manner of man he was. 

Down in St. Louis Street the windows 
have been illuminated in the old house in 
which his body lay. Up in the Citadel the 
boom of guns salutes his memory. 

So the world commemorates its heroes, 
the brave hearts and high minds that never 
doubted but pressed straight to their happy 
or unhappy goals. But some of us hear the 
guns saluting those who doubted and were 



THE PHANTOM GUARD 357 

lost, or seemed to achieve little ; whose high 
hopes perished by the way ; whom fate 
bound or frustrated ; whom conscience or 
divided counsel drove athwart into paths 
belying their promise ; whom, wrapping 
both in one rest, earth covers at length in- 
differently with its heroes. 

So let these guns, a hundred years late, 
salute the meeting of two lovers who, before 
they met and were reconciled, suffered much. 
The flying moon crosses the fields over which 
they passed forth together, and a hundred 
winters have smoothed their tracks on the 
snow. There is a tradition that they sought 
Boisveyrac ; that children were born to them 
there ; and that they lived and died as 
ordinary people do. But a thriving town 
hides the site of the Seigniory, and their 
graves are not to be found. 

And north of Lake Michigan there long 
lingered another tradition — but it has died 
now — of an Englishman and his wife who 
came at rare intervals and would live among 
the Ojibways for a while, accepted by them 
and accepting their customs; that none could 
predict the time of their coming or of their 
departure ; but that the man had, in his 
time, been a famous killer of bears. 



PLYMOUTH 

WILLIAM BRENDON AND SON 

PRINTERS 



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LONDON : JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W. 



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