UmVEf^SITY OF CALIFORNU
A. 17 titjju
BY A. T. QUILLER-COUCH
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET
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
April 2oih, 1904
I. Malbrouck s'en va t'en Guerre
II. A Bivouac in the Forest
IV. The Voyageurs
V. Contains the Apologue of Manabozho's
VII. The Watcher in the Pass
VIII. The Farther Slope .
IX. Menehwehna settles Accounts
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
XIX. The Lodges in the Snow
XX. The Reveill^
XXI. Fort Amitie Learns its Fate
XXII. Dominique .
XXIII. The Flagstaff Tower
XXIV. The Fort Surrenders
XXV. The Rapids .
XXVI. Dick's Judgment
Epilogue— I.— Hudson River
II.— The Phantom Guard
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
''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
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
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
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
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
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 ? "
"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
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 —
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 !
A BIVOUAC IN THE FOREST
THROUGH the night, meanwhile, Mont-
calm and his men had been working
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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-
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
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
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-
** 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
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
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
" 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
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
" 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
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
"If our general had only used his artil-
"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 > >)
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
52 FORT AMITY
coureur de bois who might choose to call
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
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
They were now six in the canoe — the ser-
geant, le Chameau, the two Indians, John
a Cleeve and the elder Highlander, Corporal
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
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
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,"
56 FORT AMITY
"But it is monsieur's turn, who has a
charming voice," suggested le Chameau
" 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
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,
"To be sure I do," Jack assured him,
Barboux cleared his throat, wagged his
APOLOGUE OF MANABOZHO'S TOE 57
head once or twice impassively and trolled
'* 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
" 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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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-
''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.
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
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-
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
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
The boatman nodded. "A hard way to
find, m'sieur. But have no fear. I have
''Assuredly I have no fear with you,
''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
" 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
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
'' 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
"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
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
'*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."
''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-
"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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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-
The man was dead ; dead and scalped — a
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
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
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
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
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
**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."
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
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
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
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
• • • • •
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
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
"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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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 !
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
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
"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
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
''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
" 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.
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
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.
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
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
"Yes, yes — he is an Ojibway beyond
''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
"And they had lost their boat in the
"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
"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
''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
''Of what did he talk?" asked the priest
"That I cannot tell, since he chattered in
"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
" 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
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
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
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
"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-
"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
*' 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
" 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
"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
"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."
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."
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 !
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
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
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
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
" 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
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
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
" 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.
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
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
''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-
" 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
''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
"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
"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
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
"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,
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
John paused with Menehwehna's arm sup-
''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 ? "
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 ? "
"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
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-
''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," 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
"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
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
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
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
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 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
Where now was the prospect of his soul's
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
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
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
*'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
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
"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
''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-
" 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
" 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
''Ah, to be sure!" The Commandant's
voice betrayed relief. " Come to my orderly-
room, then. You will excuse me, M. a
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
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-
''You are not to leave me, please, M. a
Clive — seeing that I came expressly to find
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
" 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
'* 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
"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
"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-
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
"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.
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
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
"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-
'* 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
"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
" 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
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,
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
She let her needlework lie for a moment,
and sat with her eyes resting on the facade
of the Commandant's quarters across the
'* 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
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
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
''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
*' 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
"In what way can I help you, madem-
*'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
''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.
THE Commandant tapped the despatch
on the table before him, with a ruse
"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,
"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
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,
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
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
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
''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
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
"Is papa sending you to Montreal?" she
asked, scarcely above a whisper.
'* He was giving me my orders when this
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
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
"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
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.
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
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
She stared at him. "Death?" she echoed,
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
" 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
**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
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
''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
'' 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-
"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
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
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
'* 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
" 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
Menehwehna paused awhile, and patted the
* '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,
"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
" 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
" 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
" ' 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
"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
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.
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.
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-
'^ 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
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
"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-
''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
" 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
"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
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 ;
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
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
Menehwehna ceased and looked at his
''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
Azoka stepped to the moonlit doorway
and gazed out over the snow.
"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
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
" 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
" 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
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-
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
'*But suppose that I had missed my shot?"
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
"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
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
''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
the darkness. *' Damn ! " cried John a
Cleeve, with a sob.
''Was that her name?" asked Ononwe
gravely, hardly concealing the relief in his
But Azoka did not hear Netawis' answer
as she crept back, smoothing the snow over
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
"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-
" 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
"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
" 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
**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
'* 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."
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
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
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
" 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,
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
'*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
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
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
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
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
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-
" Let us turn back," answered John
wearily. "That life is gone from me for
"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
"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
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.
Menehwehna touched his arm. At first
John did not seem to hear, then his hand
went up and began to unfasten the silver
" 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
'' 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
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.
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
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-
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
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
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-
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
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
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-
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
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
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
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-
*'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-
"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-
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
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
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
The Commandant steps forward. "What
news, my children ? " he asks. His voice is
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."
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? "
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
'' ' 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
"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-
''With twenty odd men against as many
hundreds? Oh, pardon me, Monseigneur,
but I cannot bring my mind to understand
'' 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
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
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-
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
'' 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
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
'* No, Monseigneur, not my answer. That
I will never take but from Mademoiselle
''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.
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
"Moreover, on my declining that honour,
he tells me that he will take his answer from
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
A tear had fallen upon his clasped
knuckles. He put his lips to it and, im-
prisoning her fingers, kissed them once,
He was a man again. He stood up, yet
not releasing her hand, and looked her in
''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
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,
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
** 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
" 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
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
"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! "
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
" 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
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
"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
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
"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
''What happened, ma'amzelle?"
" They died, and live in song for ever and
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
*'Come!" said Diane, and they walked
back to the Fort together.
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
" But how is it possible to mistrust God ? "
"Well, I don't know. I suppose that
even in bringing New France so near to
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
''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-
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
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
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
*'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
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-
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
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.
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
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
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
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-
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,
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-
'* 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.
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.
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
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-
"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
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
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
''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
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
"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
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
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-
''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
*'And the rest of your garrison? Your
pardon, again, but I must hold you respon-
sible, to deliver up all your men within the
" 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.
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
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
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
"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
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
*'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
*' 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-
" 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
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
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
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
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-
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
" 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.
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
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,
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
'* 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
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
"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
He settled down to listen, and John,
propping himself on an elbow, began his
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
" 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
"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
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
''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
"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
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
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-
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
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
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 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
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-
"Captain Barnsfare." A red-faced sea-
man stepped forward and saluted awk-
wardly : Adam Barnsfare, master of the Tell
'' 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-
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-
"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
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-
''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
"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
"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
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
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.
"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
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
Something in her attitude told him that
she had heard. He arose, holding the Ian-
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
'* Excuse me — I did not know that I car-
ried it. . . . Sirs, believe me, I intended no
offence ! Richard Montgomery was my
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
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
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
'' 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 ? "
He turned towards the house. *' He has
a noble face," she said, gazing up at the
'* He was a great man."
'' And yet he fought in the end against his
" He believed that he did right."
" Should jj/c/^ have believed it right? "
John was silent.
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
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.
** 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
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
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
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.
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
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-
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,
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.
WILLIAM BRENDON AND SON
The Latest Six-Shilling Novels.
Brothers. The True History of a Fight against Odds.
By Horace A. Vachell, Author of " The Pinch of Prosperity,"
"The Shadowy Third," "John Charity," etc.
Sabrina Warham. By Laurence Housman, Author of
"A Modern Antreus," "An Englishwoman's Love Letters," etc.
The Greatness of Josiah Porlick. By Anon.
The Veil of the Temple ; or, From Dark to Twilight.
By W. M. Mallock, Author of " The New Republic," " A Human
Phcebe in Fetters. By Mrs. Baillie Reynolds, Author
of " The Dream and the Man."
" Most excellent art. . . . The writer has an excellent style, great knowledge of
literature, and power of character drawing." — Morjiitig Post.
"An interesting work, appealing rather more to the intellect of a man of the world
than the majority of even good novels." — Academy and Literature.
Henry Brocken. His Travels and Adventures in the Rich,
Strange, Scarce- Imaginable Kingdom of Romance. By W. J.
De La Mare (Walter Ramal).
" It has been reserved for Mr. De La Mare, if not to create, at any rate to develop,
with remarkable skill and pictiiresqueness, a form of Traveller's Tale which should
appeal to an age thirsting for a fresh literary sensation, and bewailing the absence of
any new thing under the sun, with all the charm of an original discovery. '
The Odd-Job Man. By Oliver Onions, Author of
" The Compleat Bachelor," " Tales from a Far Riding," etc.
"A novel of merit." — Times.
Treasure and Heart. By Mary Deane.
" A charming story." — Times.
" A brilliantly written novel, full of life and motion, with characters most diverse."
LONDON : JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W.
The Latest Six-Shilling Novels.
The Pinch of Prosperity. By Horace Annesley Vachell,
Author of " The Shadowy Third," "John Charity."
" We have nothing but praise for this book. We have read every word of it, and
can conscientiously recommend it." — Ladies' Field.
The Wind in the Rose Bush. By Marv E. Wilkins,
Author of " The Heart's Highway."
" Here we have the best and most legitimate kind of ghost story— the kind which
is thrilling in effect and int;enious in incident, j et essentially sober in its method."
The Valley of Decision. By Edith Wharton, Author
of "Crucial Instances," etc.
"... A really brilliant work. It is very long, but the six hundred and fifty pages
do not weary one. ... As we read we are reminded of Vernon Lee, of ' Joh.i Inglesant,'
of Boccaccio, and, in one of the most striking passages of the story, of Cagliostro."
Leslie Farquhar. By Rosaline Masson, Author of " In
"... The most attractive Scotch novel that we have read for a long while ... a
novel to be recommended." — The Siaftdard.
" It is a pleasure to take up such a careful finished work. . . . Decidedly ' Leslie
Farquhar' is a book to be read." — Bookman.
Danny. By Alfred Ollivant, Author of " Owd Bob."
"... The work is notable for the fineness of its sympathy and the delicacy of its
natural art, as well as new in its kind. ... A very real story, of real humour, real
pathos, and real character." — Times.
Moth and Rust. Together with "Geoffrey's Wife" and "The
Pitfall." By Mary Cholmoxdeley, Author of " Red Pottage."
"... A fine story, admirably told." — JForld.
Tales from a Far Riding. By Oliver Onions, Author
of "The Compleat Bachelor."
"... Clearly conceived and powerfully told . . . they are excellent in their
peculiar fashion, without a weak spot among them." — T/te Guardian.
Tristram of Blent. By x\nthonv Hope.
"There is originality of construction, of character, and of dialogue . . . often
epigramm.itic, often paradoxical, but still more often delightfully humorous."
LONDON : JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W.
PRINTCOIN U.S A.
/\A 000 651 154 7
IVERSITY OF CA, RlVERSipE .(.iP.PAfl.y