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BOYS OF LIBERTY LIBRARY. 12mo. Cloth, handsomely bound. Price, each, postpaid, 50 cent.I. PAUL REVERE and the Boys or Liberty. By John De Morgan THE FIRST SHOT FOR LIBERTY or The Minute Men of Maesachuaetts. By John De Morgan. FOOLING THE ENEMY. A Story of the Siege of Boston. By John D e Mo rgan. INTO THE JAWS OF DEATH or The Boys of Liberty at the Battle of Long Island. By John De Morgan. THE HERO OF TICONDEROGA or Ethan Allen and His Green Mountain Boys. B y John De Morgan. ON TO QUEBEC or With Montiromery in Canada. By John D e Morgan. FIGHTING HAL or From Fort Necessity to Quebec. By John De Morgan. MARION AND HIS MEN or The Swamp Fox of Carolina. By John De Morgan. THE YOUNG AMBASSADOR or Washington's First Triumph. By John De Morgan. THE YOUNG GUARDSMAN or With Washington in the Ohio Valley. B y John De Morgan. THE CRUISE OF THE LIVELY BEE or A Boy' s Adventure in the War of 1812. By John De Morga n THE TORY PLOT or Saving Washington's Life. By T C Harbaugh. IN BUFF AND BLUE or Serving under Old Put. B y T. C. Harbaugh. WASHINGTON'S YOUNG SPY or Outwitting General Howe. By T C. Harbaugh. UNDER GREENE'S BANNER or The Boy Heroes of 1781. By T. C. Harbaugh. FOR FREEDOM'S CAUSE or On to Saratoga. By T C Harbaugh. CAPTAIN OF THE MINUTE MEN or The Concord Boya of 1775-By Harrie Irvine Hancock. THE TRADER'S CAPTIVE or The Young Guardsman and The French Spies. By Lieut. Lounsberry. THE QUAKER SPY, A Tale of the Revolutionary War. By Lieut. Lounsberry. FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM or The Birth of the Stars and Stripes. By Lieut. L ounsberry. BY ORDER OF THE COLONEL or The Captain of the Young Guarda men. By Lieut. Lounsberry A CALL TO DUTY or The Younc Guardsman. By Lieut. Lounsberry. IN GLORY'S VAN or The Young Guardsman at Louiabourg. By Lieut. Lounsberry. THE YOUNG PATRIOT or The Young Guardsmen at Fort William Henry. B y Lieut. Lounsberry. "OLD PUT" THE PATRIOT or Fichtinr for Home and Country. By Frederick A Ober. THE LEAGUE OF FIVE or Washington's Boy Scouts. By Commander Post. THE KING' S MESSENGER or The Fall of Ticonderoga. By Capt. Frank Ralph. DASHING PAUL JONES, The Hero of the Colonial Navy. By Frank Sheridan. FROM MIDSHIPMAN TO COMMODORE or The Glories of Our Infant Navy. By Frank Sheridan. THE CRUISE OF THE ESSEX or Making the Stars and Stripes Ro spected, By Frank Sheridan.
11 F o r a f ew m o m ents the warri o r s s t ood t a l k in g t oge th e r the youn g capt ain wat ch ing them wit h the eyes o f a h awk." (See p age 12)
THE YOUNG PATRIOT OR THE YOUNG GUARDSMEN AT FORT WILLIAM HENRY BY LIEUT. LIONEL LOUNSBERRY AUTHOR OF "By Order of the Colonel," "Won at West Point,' "Out with Commodore Decatur,'' Fighting for Freedom,'' etc. PHILADELPHIA DAVID McKAY, PUBLISHER 610 SOUTH WASHINGTON SQUARE
Copyright, 1904 By STREET & SMITH The Y ottng Patriot
THE YOUNG PATRIOT. CHAPTER I. A DISASTROUS SORTIE. "Injuns, cap'n !'', "Injuns ?" "That's what, Cap'n Lee; Injuns an' Frcnchies--a hull slew ef 'em." "Where away, Nimble Ned?" "Not over half a mile ahead of us, i;ir." "How many Indians are there, and how many French?" "Now ye got me. I jest had time to pop eyes onto 'em an' tum an' run back. Haven't the rest o' the guardsmen got here y et, cap'n ? "I'm expecting them ever y minut e Ned If I had the compan y at my h e els we d charge the enemy at a double-quick. "You b e t we w o uld! r e turn e d the boy, Nimble
6 A Disastrous Sortie. Ned, a flush of excitement mounting his tanned face. "We'd give the mounseers fits, too. That's w hat the Young Guardsmen always do when they go after 'em. "We usually make a pretty good showing, I think, returned the young captain, a gleam of pride darting into his eyes. "Col. Washington has been informed that the red scoundrel, Chief Aouschik is on this part of the frontier, and this sortie we are making was ordered with the especial object of locating Aouschik, if possible." Aouschik, ch ief of the Nipissings, was one of the most dreaded of all the red fiends on the border. He it was who killed one of Montcalm s engineers the year before, mi s taking the Frenchman for an Englishman. B y wa y of demonstrating the sincerity of his regret, Aouschik brought in thirty-three English scalps during the twelve months that followed. "What need of councils, deliberations and proposals when action is needed? he had said to the French commander. I hate the Englishman. I thirst for his blood, and I am going to bathe in it !" And thereupon he broke into a hideous war song and led o ut his braves.
A Disastrous Sortie. 7 Small wonder that Washington, guarding the Vir ginia frontier from his fortress in the outpost of Winchester, was eager to capture or destroy such a bloody monster as Chief Aouschik. With this end in view, he had ordered Capt. George Lee and his Young Guardsmen to make a sortie into the wilderness, hoping to learn whether Chief Aouschik was in the vicinity. The young captain had sent out some scouts in various directions from the main body of his force. He and the boy, Nimble Ned had gone one way, Lieut. Vernon and Sergt. Willis had gone another, and Sure foot and Straight-Tongue--.scouts who knew the wil derness like an open book-were left to their own devices and told to gather information wherever they could find it. George had given orders that the Young Guardsmen, under command of Lieut. Kenward Mason, should halt at a certain point, several miles in advance, and wait for the scouts to come in and report. George and Ned had reconnoiter e d the woods for sever al hours without finding any Indian "signs," and the young c aptain, dis g u sted with his lack of success,
8 A Disastrous Sortie. had thrown himself down on the spot appointed for the rendezvous of the troopers, with the intention of waiting until the rest should come. Nimble Ned could not rest easy for any great length of tiine. Very soon he was up and away, scouting on his own hook, and it was not long until he returned excitedly to the place where he had left the captain, and vouchsafed the information which opens this chapter. The youthful captain was pleased to learn that the enemy was so near, and that the sortie was likely to prove a success. He thought it necessary, however, to learn, as soon as possible, whether the Indians in the war party were under Chief Aouschik. "While we are waiting for our comrades, Ned," said George, "we will go ahead and see if we can find out who those Indians are." "I reckoned ye might think o'
A Disastrous Sortie. 9 was to be on foot; and after he and Ned had left it would be wise to have the horses hidden as well as :night he. "'Cause," replied Ned, his grin growing broader, "ye're a sort o' impatient feller, Cap'n Lee, an if there's anythin' to be done you gen'rally want to get right at it." Ned was a harum-scarum youngster, as full of mis chief as an egg is of meat. Being a general favorite in the company, he was allowed to do pretty much as he pleased, and was seldom reprimanded for a too free use of his tongue. "Well," said George, "bring your horse in here, Ned, and hitch him alongside of mine. Then we'll go forward and see what we can discover." There was no one more alert at obeying orders than Ned, especially if the orders were of a warlike nature. He led his horse into the brush beside the captain's, made the animal secure, and then returned to where George was standing, looking southward into the woods and listening. "What's up, cap'n ?" asked Ned.
IO A Disastrous Sortie. "Nothing," replied George. "Before we started, I thought it would be well to listen for any sounds indicating the approach of our comrades. I can hear nothing, so we'll push ahead. Take th e lead, Ned. You have been over the ground once and know the Wj3.y." "I'll lead ye in a bee line direct to the place where I caught sight o' the Frenchies an' their red pard ners, cap'n," replied the boy, and forged ahead through the timber at a dog trot. In addition to his sword, George was armed with a pair of pistols Ned had an old flintlock musket, which was the pride of his life, and which he always kept bright and clean and properly trimmed for action. The half mile that separated the French and their red allies from the place which the young captain had settled upon for a rendezvous was quickly traversed. When near the point where he had caught sight of the enemy, Ned can1e to a halt whirled around in his tracks, and looked at George a warning finger on his lips. Both the youth and the boy were trained in Indian
A Disastrous Sortie. 11 warfare, and at once, by one acc o rd, they dropped to their knees and began wri g gling their way onward as silently as serpents. Presently the sound of voices struck on their earsquick, nervous words spoken in the French tongue and guttural replies in a sort of patois of French and Indian. Cautiousl y parting the bushes George looked ahead. In a small natural clearing, not more than a hundred feet distant he saw a French officer and an Indian chief in earnest conversation. An exclamation leaped to the young provincial's lips, but he smothered it instantly. The Indian was Chief Aouschik There was no doubt about it at all George had seen the redskin many months before, when the English were seeking to gain him and his tribe for allies, and a mistake was out of the question. The Frenchman was mounted on a white horse, and the chief was on foot. While George knelt in the bushes, watching sharply the officer finished his harangue, turned his horse's head, and rode off. When
11 A Disastrous Sortie. left to himself, Aouschik gave the wavering cry of a loon. He was answered by like cnes from the woods to right and left, and presently two other redskins came gliding to his side like dusky shadows. For a few moments the warriors stood talking to the young captain watching them with the eyes of a hawk. The murderous Aouschik was almost within his grasp; in fact, it would have been an easy matter to draw a pistol and shoot him down where he stood. But there was something about such an attack, even when a scoundrelly redskin was the object of it, which made the youthful prnvincial pause. As he knelt in the copse, watching and listening and nervously fingering the butt of one of his pistols, a firelock bellowed out at his side. A wild yell followed the explosion, and George looked around to see Nimble Ned falling backward from the recoil of his gun. The boy had felt no scruples about shooting from ambush, and the moment
A Disastrous Sortie. 13 he had recognized Aouschik he had brought his gun to his shoulder and pulled the trigger. The report, and the cry that followed, went echoing and re-echoing through the forest. A sharp reprimand was on George s lips, but he smothered it back and sprang to his feet drawing a pistol with either hand. Ned's bullet had not found Aouschik, nor either of the redskin s companions, but had whizzed away into the leafy recesses of the wood. The Indians were wildly startled, and made as though they would run at first ; but a command from the chief brought all three to a halt. Quavering whoops resounded from the timber on all sides. The three braves in the clearing answered it, and brought their guns to their naked shoulders. "Take to the trees Ned-quick!" shouted Capt. Lee, suiting his action to the word, and jumpin g for cover. The boy darted to a tree trunk, and when the Indians fired, their leaden missiles were intercepted and proved harmless. Before they could reload, George ran from behind his shelter and straight toward them.
14 A Disa&trous Sortie. With fierce shouts, all three of the Indians hurled themselves forward to engage the intrepid youth, one with a knife, another with a tomahawk, and the third with clubbed rifle. George Lee was as valiant a youth as there was in the colony of Virginia. Hardy as any brave that ever stepped, quick in his movements as a wild cat, and with muscles of steel, he could have held his own in a single combat with any who might be brought against him. But here the odds were three to two, and Ned was only a mere boy-willing enough, and brave enough, but no match for a buck Indian. As George ran toward the Indians, he fired both his pistols. The warrior with the tomahawk dropped his weapon, gave a death cry and pitched forward upon his face It was not the wily Aouschik, however, that bit the dust. The young captain had shot at the chief, but the bullet had missed its mark. Aouschik was brandish ing his scalping knife and rending the air with triumphant yells
A Disastrous Sortie. Now that the white youth s pistols were u s eless, he beli e ved he had him at his mercy. He sprang forward to use the flashing blade, and George hurled one o f the pistols with all his strength. The firearm struck Aouschik s knife wri s t. The chief's exultant yells turned to cries of pain, and the fell to the ground. The Indian with the clubbed rifle had come up be hind George, and was now close enough to deal him a blow. The gun was raised in air, and would have fallen on the guardsman's head with crushing force but for a quick move made by Nimble Ned. Ned had snatched up the tomahawk dropped by the brave who had been slain. Quick to observe his cap tain's peril, the boy hurled the tomahawk and struck the Indian with the rifle in the breast, causing him to fall back, terribly wounded "Well done, Ned!" panted George. "Clear away now, There are more of the red fiends coming and our legs will have to save us." "Somethin' new to see Cap'n Lee runnin' away from the enemy," quoth Ned. "If ye' re as good with yer.
16 A Disastrous Sortie. feet as ye are with yer fists, I reckon we'll get away all right." Together they darted off, side by side, the woods all about them resounding with fierce whoops of the gathering war party. Suddenly directly across the path of the fleeing whites, a bent sapling sprang upward, and the com rades were tripped and sent headlong into the brush. Ere they could right themselves, a swarm of howling savages were upon them, holding them down and threatening their lives with knives and tomahawks. A stentorian voice shouted a fierce command, and the red captors looked up to see their chief, Aouschik, hurrying among them, his face demoniacal in its rage. Neither George nor Ned could understand Aous chik's .orders; but his warriors dropped their weapons, and it was plain that the captives' lives were to be spared in order that they might meet a more horrible fate. After a few more words from the chief, the hands of the prisoners were bound with buckskin thongs,
A Disastrous Sortie. 17 and they were jerked to their feet and hurried off through the forest. In order to accelerate their steps, the savages pricked them from time to time with their knife points and struck them with the flat of their hatchets.
CHAPTER II. IN THE HANDS OF AOUSCHIK. 'Aouschik and his party conducted their captives along an old Indian trail. They traveled for hours, without halt for rest or refreshment, and at last came out into the valley of a small stream. Here a great number of lodges were pitched, and the triumphant war party were greeted vociferously by a score or more of comrades who had been left in camp. George and Ned were surrounded by a hooting and yelling mob, among whom were a number of squaws. The squaws took great delight in cuffing the palefaces and striking them with their clinched fists. They would probably have gone to greater lengths had not Aouschik interfered. After a time the prisoners were thrown into an empty lodge, their feet were securely bound, and they were left to themselves.
In the Hands of Aouschik. 19 They were worn out with their rough treatment and their long march, but they were not too tired to talk. "This is hard luck, cap'n said Nimble N ed. "I kind e r feel like I was responsible fer it." "What makes you think that, my boy?" asked George. "Waal, if I hadn t been so tarnation quick to use my gun, while we was lookin' out at the lnjuns from the brush I reckon we wouldn't have be e n cotched." The captain knew this as well as Ned, but had no wish to find fault with the boy. He had used his firelock thoughtlessly, on the spur of the moment, anq everyone is apt to make mistakes. "No use crying over spilled milk, Ned," said George, philosophically. "Old Aouschik has got hold of us, and he'll put us to the torture and then kill us-unle ss we can make our escape in some way." "You wasn't ever born to be killed b y th e r e d s cap n said Ned, confid e ntl y "Your country need s you-Kunnel Washington has said that a lot o an' you ain t goin ter be scalped, or burned at the stake by lnjuns."
20 In the Hands of Aouschik. "How about yourself, Ned?" queried George, with a faint smile. "Old Aouschik ain't goin' to do for me, neither. When a feller's born to be hung, er drowned," he grinned, "ye can't kill him in no other way." At this point a warrior entered the tepee with a generous ration of steaming venison on a piece of birch bark. Behind him came two more warriors, who released the hands of the captives and itood by in silence while they ate. The food disposed of, the prisoners' bonds were replaced, and the three warriors took themselves off. "They ain't goin' to starve us to death, anyhow," remarked Ned, with a good deal of satisfaction. "I'd ruther be killed any other way than by bein' starved to death, cap'n." "They are feeding us well," returned George, grimly, "so we'll have more strength to stand the torture. The longer we can stand their cruelty the more sport we will afford them." "I don't keer a copper what they do to me," said Ned, "I ain't goin' to let out a groan or bat an eye."
In the Hands of Aouschik. 21 "Bear it as well as you can, my boy-they will treat you better if you do. But, unless we can escape, our doom is sealed. One of the braves who set upon us was killed, and Aouschik will want our lives to pay for his." "Mebby the Frenchies will interfere," said Ned, a gleam of hope crossing his face. George shook his head. "The Frenchmen, even if they knew our predica ment, wouldn't turn over their hands to save us ; they are too anxious to have the English put out of the way." "Don't ye think the Young Guardsmen'll find out what's happened to us, an' come to the rescue?" "How will they find out, Ned? We're supposed to be off scouting, and if we don't get back to the place where we were to meet, they may imagine we've been captured; but they won't know where to go to look for us." When George finished speaking, the beating of a drum came from outside. It was a tom-tom, calling the warriors to council. Turning on his side, the young
22 In the Hands of Aouschik. captain looked out under the bottom of the buckskin lodge wall. The savages were grouping themselves around a bright blaze kindled in the center of the camp, the bucks sitting cross-legged on the ground, close to the fire, and the squaws standing in the rear. First one Indian and then another got up and spoke. From the frequent gestures they made in the direction of the prison lodge, no doubt was left in the young captain's mind that the fate of himself and Ned was under discussion. There was another tepee only a few yards from the one in which the captain and his comrade were con fined. The big fire threw its gleam in between the two lodges and George was startled to see a pair of eyes looking out from under the wall of the opposite tepee. The eyes were fixed upon him. "Who are you?" asked a soft voice. Although George could not see the face of the speaker very distinctly, the voice told him that it was a woman. A thrill shot through his body.
In the Hands of Aouschik. 23 "I am Capt. George Lee, of the Virginia Guards," the youth answered. "And who are you?" he inquired. "My name is Alice Mason ," the other answered. You are a captive of Aouschik like myself and my friend?" "Yes. I am not alone in the lodge ; my cousin, Bertha Andrews, is with me. "How long have you been prisoners ?" "For many weeks," came the reply with a bitter sigh. "We live near Fort William Henry. Bertha's father and mine belong to the garrison there." George was astounded. Foct William Henry was a great distance away, and these young women must have had a frightful experience if they had been cap tured there, and had been in Aouschik's hands ever since. "Have you and your cousin been treated well?" George asked. "The Indians have treated us well enough the girl answered "for the reason that they want to sell us as hostages to the Frenchmen at Fort Duquesne. TC>J morrow we are expecting to be taken to the fort."
24 In the Hands of Aouschik. "I wish with all my heart that I could save you!" said George, fervently. "We are in less peril than you and your friend, I think," Alice Mason answered. "From the actions of our captors, I do not think they intend for you to live much beyond sunrise in the morning." "Possibly Aouschik is going to be disappointed as to that." "Indeed, I hope so," returned the girl, with a shudder. "I'd do anything I could to help you, Capt. Lee ; but I and my cousin are even more helpless than you and your friend." At that moment the council broke up, and three Indians came toward the prison lodge. George turned his face away from the wall. It was dark inside the tepee, but one of the braves carried a pine knot, which he thrust into the ground in the center of the floor space. The captain was turned over and his bonds seen to. Nimble Ned's cords were then examined; after which the three Indians seated themselves on the ground. It was evident that they had been set apart as a
In the Hands of Aouschik. 25 guard to watch the prisoners during the night. The y oung colonial's heart grew heavy. He had been counting on making a move to escape during the night, but such an attempt was out of the question with these three Indians in the lodge with him and Nimble N ed. There was nothing left to do but to sleep and secure as much rest as possible against the trying times that were to come with the morrow. Ned, who had the happy faculty of always looking on the bright side of things, no matter how hard a fate fell to his lot, was soon in a sound slumber. George did not fall asleep so readily, for he was thinking over the situation, and also reflecting upon the fate that might be in store for Alice Mason and Bertha Andrews at the French stronghold of Duquesne. If any good fortune came his way, and he was able to free himself, he was determined not to leave Aouschik's camp until he could rescue the girls and take them with him. With these thoughts coursing through his drowsy brain he finally dropped into slumber. He was aroused by a moccasined foot kicking him
26 In the Hands of Aouschik. roughly in the side. Opening his eyes, be found that morning had come, and that the three warriors who had brought supper to him and Ned had now come with their breakfast. "Jiminy !" exclaimed Ned, stretching his arms after the bonds had been taken from his wrists to give him a chance to eat his food. "I was havin' a mighty nice dream, cap'n. Thought we d captured old Aouschik, an' were takin' him to Kunnel Washington's headquar ters. Funny how ye'll dream things so blame diff'rent from what they are in reality." "Dreams go by contraries, they say," answered George, as cheerfully as he could under the circum stances. "How do you feel, Ned?" "I feel as though I'd a heap ruther live than be killed by a pack o' measly varmints like these reds. But I ain't goin' to show the white feather, cap'n." "You couldn't show the white feather if you tried, my boy. That isn t your style. Keep up courage, whatever happens; and, by the way, it's easier to keep up courage on a full stomach than on an empty one. So eat a good breakfast-I'm going to."
In the Hands of Aouschik. 17 "Never seen the time I couldn't eat a hearty meal, cap'n," grinned the plucky lad. "You watch me." Then they both fell to and did justice to the food that had been brought them. The Indians looked on stolidly. The meat finished, they replaced the thongs about the captives' hands and freed their ankles. By motions they signified that George and Ned were to get up. "We're in for it now, Ned," said George. "All right, cap'n," sung out Ned. "The quicker it's over the better, I reckon." They were marched outside to a place where all the Indians in the camp were gathered and waiting. The squaws made no attempt to molest them, but looked at them with scowling faces. It was plain that they thought the spectacle they were about to witness would give them ample revenge for the warrior who had gone down before the young captain's pistol. George, with a redskin on each side of him holding his arms, was given a position to one side, while Ned was taken to an oak tree and tied with his back to the trunk.
28 In the Hands of Aouschik. The boy was to be tortured first, and the captain was to watch the fiendish operation. For George Lee that would be harder than to undergo the torture him self No doubt the cunning savages understood this. Taking up their positions several yards from the tree to which Ned was secured, the warriors drew their tomahawks, and, one at a time, hurled them at the lad. It was not their purpose to strike him, but to see how close they could send their hatchets to his body without making a "hit." The first tomahawk buried itself in the tree trunk just over Ned's right shoulder. He never flicked an eyelid as the murderous weapon darted toward him, and laughed derisively when it thumped quivering, into the tree. The second hatchet was very badly thrown-from the warrior's point of view-landing full six inches to the right of Ned's right knee. The Indian making the throw was hooted at by his companions. The third tomahawk struck within an inch of Ned s ear, and from that on the throwing proceeded until the boy was fairly lined in with tomahawk handles.
In the Hands of Aouschik. It had been a sickening sight for the young captain. A poor thrower among the savages might have made a mistake of an inch in his calculations and struck the lad dead. George closed his eyes involuntarily every time a warrior raised his arm, and only opened them again when he heard Ned' s taunting yell. Aouschik had not yet tried his hand. When all the other braves had thrown, he stepped to the front his wolfish eyes a-glitter He was bare to the waist, his bronze skin shining with a fresh coat of oil. His face was hideously painted; and, as he stood in front of Ned, menacing him with the tomahawk, George thought he looked a demon. What was Aouschik going to do? Was he going to take a throw to beat all the rest of the red men, or had it been reserved for him to put the paleface boy out of the way? A chill of apprehension shot through Capt Lee's every nerve as Aouschik slowly raised his hatchet and balanced it in his hand. Three times he lifted the weapon, but it did not leave his hand. He was playin g with the boy's f ears-trying
30 In the Hands of Aouschik. to worry him in much the same way that a cat will worry a mouse. But Ned was not worried. "Why don't ye throw, ole Cut-an'-Slash ?" he shouted, sneeringly. A fierce expression swept across the chief's painted visage. "Don't, Ned!" cried George. "Don't taunt him and make him any more fiendish than he is !" "I ain't afeared of the red devil, cap'n," Ned went on "He kin cut me in two, if he wants to-I'll laugh at him while he's
In the Hands of Aouschik. JI age had held good, and the warriors had not had the sport they had counted upon. At a command from Aouschik, Nimble Ned was unbound from the tree, and the savages wrenched their tomahawks out of the bark. "Thought ye'd make me shake, didn't ye?" whooped Ned, defiantly, as he was led off and his hands re bound. "Waal, ye didn't! I'm one o' Cap'n Lee's Young Guardsmen, I am, an' we've got so well ac quainted with yer arrers, an' tomahawks, an' bullets, that they can't skeer us. An' ye couldn't skeer ary one o' the other guards, neither !" "You did well, Ned," said George, warmly. "But it's only prolonging the agony, that's all. They'll kill us sooner or later." "I reckon they will, cap'n; but I'm gain' to keep a stiff upper lip clear to the bitter end." "You're a credit to the guards, my boy," said George. "Now it's my tum. Ah!" A peculiar light rose in the young captain's eyes. "They're going to make me run the gantlet."
J1 In the Hands of Aouschik. The bucks were separating in!o two files, arming themselves with bludgeons and knives. A gasp escaped Ned, and his freckled face went white with fear for his captain. "They're goin' ter kill ye, cap'n !" he muttered. "They may intend to," said George, between his teeth, "but they won't succeed." "Y e'll never live to git through them two lines of red fiends." "I think I will I" "Aouschik !" yelled Ned, facing the chief, who had posted at the foot of the two lines, in order to give George his finishing blow when he staggered out of the gantlet. The chief turned his baleful eyes in Ned's direction. "Let me do this fer the captain!" shouted the boy. "Let me run that gantlet--" "Ned!" cried George, sternly. "I am your com manding officer, and I order you to keep quiet. You stood yo.tr share of the torture, and I will stand mine. The chief did not understand you, and it's lucky he didn't. Watch matters, if you want to, but keep a still tongue between your teeth."
In the Hands of Aouschik. 33 With Ned it was the same as it had been with George. It was much easier to undergo the torture himself than to see his friend undergo it. With brave and generous hearts this is ever the case. Heeding a command from Aouschik, the savages on either side of the young captain began unfastening his hands and removing the upper part of the rifle dress which was the uniform of the Young Guardsmen. Presently George was stripped to the waist and ready for his race with death between the two lines of painted red demons. He was led to the head of the two files. A wild yell went up from the exultant warriors, and the two braves, who still gripped George's arms, cast him for ward. Nimble Ned watched as by some awful fascination. He saw the young captain leap forward, dodge a b low from a knife and receive the staggering impact of a club. He reeled. The next instant his fist had shot out, and the warrior with the club had fallen backward as though beaten down by a sledge hammer. Yells of rage went up from the Indians.
34In the Hands of Aouschik. They ha d n o t be en l ook in g for r e b e llion of this sort on the part of their pal e face c a pti v e. But Geor g e was not yet done. With a swift move, he caught the club out of the stricken redskin's hands and laid it about him with all the force of his strong arms. Warriors were knocked right and left. The two lines were thrown into disorder, and Aouschik leaped forward like a catamount. Before he could come any where near George, the latter had clubbed att opening in the cordon that surrounded him had leaped through the breach, cast aside his bludgeon, and sped away into the forest. A triumphant shout escaped the lips of Nimble Ned. "Huzzah!" he cried. "There ain t a runner in the hull tribe can ketch up with Cap'n Lea I I reckoned he'd do somethin' like that!" I ) .. ) '' I t I t 1:.. L t t t j ,. I
' "' I,. CHAPTER III. STRAIGHT-TONGUE'S RUSE. Nimble Ned was both right and wrong in the state ment which he shouted to the Indians when his captain darted into the woods. George Lee excelled m all athletic sports, and at running he was as fleet as a deer. Indeed, during the games in which regulars and militia indulged at Washington's post of Ford Loudon, not one among all the backwoods soldiers could beat him in a race. But, in this instance, he was running under diffi culties. The savage had struck him a terrible blow with the club, and he still felt the effects of it. The fierce struggle to get away had also weakened him. Gritting his teeth and bending forward, he shot through the timber, hoping his strength would return to him. If caught he knew well that his fate would be instant death. Behind him he could hear the howling savages crashing through the brush in h o t pursuit. They were
Straight-Tongue's Ruse. fairly frantic with rage, and the stentorian tones of Aouschik echoed above every other sound, goading the braves to swifter pace. Leaping fallen trees, plunging through thorny coverts that scratched his face and bare breast and shoulders, the young guardsman dashed on. His strength did not return. his weakness seemed to grow, for his breath came short and labored, and now and again his senses reeled. In a few minutes he struck into an Indian trail and followed it. This made his flight easier, but also helped the pursuit. He felt that he could not go much farther ; and, just as he was on the point of throwing himself on the ground and waiting for his foes to come up, he heard sounds ahead. Another moment, and he had come within sight of a French officer riding a white horse. George's brain was dizzy, and he could not see very distinctly; but he thought this must be the same officer whom he and Ned had seen talking with Aouschik the day before. The young captain staggered to his knees, and the redskins broke from the woods behind him like a lot
Straight-Tongue's Ruse. 37 of famished wolves. As they rushed upon their quarry, the Frenchman dropped from his saddle and ran for ward with unsheathed sword Planting himself between George and the warriors, the officer swept a circle with his gleaming blade keep ing the redskins beyond the point. Not a sound did the officer make, but his grim determination was evi dent in every move. The young captain was not expecting aid from such a quarter; and when his brain cleared, and he looked up into the officer's face, a startled exclamation came from his lips. Could he believe his eyes? The man was no Frenchman although clad from head to heel in the uniform of the French Louis. He was none other than Strai g ht-Tongue, the good scout whom Washin g ton had s et apart to accompany the Young Guardsmen on th e ir sortie in quest of Aouschik Questions darted throu g h th e young captain's be wildered mind. How had Strai g ht-Tongue managed
38 Straight-Tongue's Ruse. to secure a mount and a French uniform? What was his object in riding recklessly toward the Indian camp? The scout flashed a look at George which com manded silence and plainly forbade recognition. By that time Aouschik and his clamoring braves had gatohered around the captain and the supposed French officer. The chief pushed forward, talking rapidly in a patois half Indian and half French. Straight-Tongue, as he listened, still kept his sword out and ready. When Aouschik had finished, Straight-Tongue pointed to his ears, and then to his mouth, and shook his head. By pantomime he was trying to convey the impression that he was deaf and dumb. Aouschik and his braves understood the gestures to mean this, and the chief made signs of counting gold into his palm. Straight-Tongue nodded, and pointed to George. Aouschik shook his head fiercely, and so did all the other warriors. Then the chief held up two fingers and motioned behind him toward his camp. That meant, as George understood it, that if thtt
Straight-Tongue's Ruse. 39 supposed French officer had brought gold it was for the purpose of ransoming the two captive girls, and that George himself was not to be considered in the I transaction. Laying a hand on the young captain's head, Straight Tongue nodded firmly. With one hand under George's arm, he raised him and led him toward his horse. Mounting, the scout had Georie clamber up behind him, the Nipissing braves watching as though for but a word from their chief to interfere. Aouschik, scowling blackly, and in anything but an agreeable mood, did not give the word. A buckskin sack was fastened to Straight-Tongue's saddle, and he raised the sack with his left hand and struck it with the flat of his sword. The contents jingled, and a greedy light shot athwart the scowling visage of the chief. A sharp order came from Aouschik, and the warriors fell sullenly back. Then the chief pointed in the direc tion of his camp. Straight-Tongue nodded. The chief stepped aside from the trail and waved his hand. This
Straight-Tongue's Ruse. was an invitation for the scout to proceed, and he did so. George was in a fever to talk with Straight-Tongue and find out what all this acting meant; but talk was impossible. Straight-Tongue was supposed to be deaf and fiumb; besides the Indians were following closely. In a few minutes the camp was reached. George feared that Ned if anywhere in sight, would instantly recognize the scout and call his name. Such a pro ceeding would have aroused the suspicions of the red men, afld might have proved the brave scout's undoing. As it happened, however, Nimble Ned had been re conducted to the prison lodge, and was now inside of it, safely bound as before. There was much rejoicing in Aouschik's camp over the supposed capture of the escaped captive. The fact that he was with the French officer led the Indians to think that George was safely in their hands again, for the French were their allies. Aouschik quelled the antics of the women, and ordered them roughly to their lodges As soon as they
Straight-Tongue's Ruse. were gone, Straight-Tongue dismounted and handed the bridle reins to George, giving him an expressive glance as he did so. Opening the buckskin bag, the scout emptied a heap of louis d' or upon the ground. Aouschik knelt beside the heap and fondled the coins with his tawny fingers. Presently he gave orders to two of his braves, and they scurried off to the lodge where the two white girls were confined. Straght-Tongue watched the departure of the two warriors in a puzzled way, as though he did not know what to make of their actions. They came back shortly, each of them leading one of the captive girls. Alice Mason and her cousin and companion in cap tivity, Bertha Andrews, were both under twenty, and were clad in the fringed and beaded doeskin garments affected by Indian girls. Both the captives were handsome young women, Alice being fair, with yellow hair and blue eyes, Bertha dark, her tresses like a raven's wing and her eyes jetty and lustrous.
Straight-T onguc's Ruse. The girls were frightened, evidently fearing that they were now to be turned over to the Fre nch and removed to Fort Duquesne. They were perplexed, also, by seeing the young captain, in his sad plight, sitting astride the officer's horse. Straight-Tongue motioned to George s buckskin shirt, which still lay on the ground, near where it had been dropped when taken from his person. A warrior picked it up and flung it to the youth, who hastily slipped into it. Then the dickering proceeded. Straight-Tongue separated the heap of gold into three piles. This done, he touched one pile and pointed to Alice, touched the second and pointed to Bertha, and touched the third and pointed to George. The chief frowned. After a little he drew apart and took counsel with some of his advisers. Even now there was no chance for George to get in a quiet word with Straight-Tongue. The youth was eager to explain that the gold should have been divided into four piles, so that Nimble Ned could be included
Straight-Tongue's Ruse. in the ransom. But to inform the scout of this would court disaster for the whole plan. In a few minutes Aouschik came back. Under his arm was the sword taken from George at the time of his capture, and in his hands were George's pistols; also a long pipe, the bowl of which was filled with tobacco. The chief gravely handed George his weapons. A warrior brought :ii small coal from a nearby fire, and this was laid on the tobacco in the pipe. Aouschik whiffed it two or three times and passed it to Straight-Tongue. The scout puffed at the stem, then handed the pipe back, and the transaction was completed. Straight-Tongue took the reins from the young captain's hands and pulled them over the horse's head. George dismounted. The scout beckoned to the girls and, with the young captain's aid, assisted them to the charger's back. Alice and Bertha were still very much alarmed, but the presence of George seemed to reassure them in a measure, and they quietly yielded to the scout's will.
44 Straight-Tongue's Ruse. Five warriors were then told off as an escort for the supposed French officer; and, while Aouschik was scraping up his gold, Straight-Tongue and the young captain started into the woods again, the scout leading the horse and the five warriors following at a distance.
CHAPTER IV. REJOINING THE GUARDS. Once Aouschik s camp was well in the rear, and the escort of five warriors following well out of earshot, there was an opportunity to exchange remarks with Straight-Tongue. George was not slow to take ad vanta g e of it. "Vv ell done, Straight-Tongue!" he murmured. "I fooled the reds out o their eye teeth; hey, cap n ?" chuckled the scout. "So you did; but I am at a loss to understand how you were ever able to do it." "When you failed to come up with the main column yesterday, cap n, said Straight-Tongue, "we reckoned that you had been captered, and a dozen of us went out to b eat up the timber Surefoot found a dead lnjun, consider'ble blood on the ground and s igns of a struggle. Then we was all more than sure that our game young cap'n was in the hands o' the reds.
Rejoining the Guards. "The trail from the scene of the fight was tolerable plain, and the hull detachment followed it as far as they could. Suddenly every sign played out, and the guards went into camp to wait till mornin' before lookin' further. "Surefoot and I and some others were abroad all night. A little arter daybreak I had the good luck to catch sight of a Frenchy ridin' the lnjun trail on the white boss I'm leadin He was trottin' along, hummin' a sort o' tune, an' hadn't no idee there was an enemy withm a hundred miles o' him, I reckon. "It didn't take me long to make up my mind what I was to do. A tree was growin' beside the trail with a big limb juttin out over it ; so I clim' the tree an' perched on the limb. When the mounseer rode under me I jumped onto his boss, behind him, grippin' him round the waist and pinioning his arms to his sides." The scout gave a soft laugh. "I reckon he was about as surprised a frog-eater as ye could find in the hull Ohio kentry, cap'n," the scout resumed. "I trussed him up with a piece of rope that
Rejoining the Guards. he had tied to his saddle, pulled him off the boss an' dragged him into the brush. "Of course, I'm no hand to parleyvoo, but the Frenchy knew a little king's English an' was willin to talk it when I shoved the p int o' my rifle under his nose. He was goin' to Aouschik's village, he said, to ransom a white captive. And he was in somethin' of a hurry, fearin' Aouschik would get impatient an' put the captive out o' the way. "I was kind o' mistaken in the Frenchman's talk, 'cause he must have said 'captives' instid o' 'captive.' He was referrin' to these young wimmen, I reckon ; but I thought he was referrin' to you." "Your mistake was quite natural, Straight-Tongue,'' said George. "Go on." "What the Frenchman said put me in a quandary," the scout proceeded. "I could take my prisoner back to the Young Guardsmen, and then we could rush the In jun camp an' rescue you; but I was afraid there wasn't time for that. It would have taken three or four hours, ma y hap half a day; and Aouschik could do a lot to you in half a day, cap n. While I was cogi-
Rejoining the Guards. tatin' the matter, along come Surefoot, an' I reckon I was never so glad to see a friend in my life. "I told Surefoot how the land lay, and he suggested that he put on the French officer's uniform and ride into the lnjun camp and rescue you with the gold. He said he could purtend to be deef an' dumb, and do all his talkin' by sign language. I thought that a mighty cute idee ; but, inasmuch as I was the one that had done the business for the Frenchman, I reckoned it was only fair that I shouid get into the uniform and do the ransomin'. "That's what I done, cap'n. When I was finally fixed up and started in the direction our prisoner said the Injun camp lay, Surefoot began hoofin' it toward the place where the guardsmen were stationed, allowin' that he'd have the hull command come on in a body to be of sarvice in case they was needed." "It was a fortunate thing for me," said George, "that you carried out that plan. If you had not done so, Straight-Tongue, the Indians would certainly have killed me." "Looks that way, sure. I was puzzled a heap when
Rejoining the Guards. 49 them young wimmen was brought out of the lodge ; but I knowed then I'd have to take them from the red varmints along with y ou. "I wish you had included Nimble Ned in the trans action along with the girls and myself," returned George. "Do ye mean to say that Nimble Ned was in that camp cap'n ? queried the astounded scout. Yes. He and I were captured together." The re upon George went on to tell of the misfortune which had overtaken him and the boy. "Great guns!" muttered Straight-Tongue. "I wasn't so smart as I thought I was. It won t do to leave Ned in that camp, cap n It won't be long until they start in to finish him. S posin' I was to turn and go back--" "No; that wouldn't do. You h a ve pa i d out all the Frenchman s mon ey, an d A ou s chik wouldn t give Ned up until you brought some mor e "That's so s aid the s cout, p e rplexedly. "But what's to be done?"
so Rejoining the Guards. "If Surefoot rejoined th e Guards the troop must be on its way in this direction by now "I reckon they are. we shall meet them before long. The girls can be left with four or five of the bo ys, and the rest of us can make a hurried advance upon Aouschik s camp, destroy it, kill or capture the chief, and rescue Ned." "I reckon that's the best thing to do." "It' s the only thing we can do, Straight-Tongue." "But what'II happen to the boy while we're
Rejoining the Guards. Mistress Amy had for lover the valiant young cap tain. The Guards were with Washington and Braddock on the ill-fated expedition against Fort Duquesne; and, at that time, Nimble Ned had saved the life of Joanna. Straight-Tongue had never forgotten that service; so the present plight of the boy weighed upon him heavily. In spite of his eagei:ness to rush to the lad's assist ance, however, he was quick to see the wisdom of the captain's counsel. This talk had been heard by Alice and Bertha, and their astonishment may be imagined. They had been under the impression that both they and Capt. Lee were in the hands of a French officer and were being taken to the French post at the head of the Ohio. "Capt. Lee," said Alice, leaning forward as she spoke, "is it possible that we have been rescued by our own people? I can scarcely believe my ears !" George took a precautionary look behind at the skulking forms of the five Indians. They were com-
Rejoining the Guards. ing on, silent and wary, and seemed to have no sus picions that anything was wrong. The youth dropped behind the scout so that he could walk at the side of the girls. "That is the case, Miss Mason," said he. "Did you hear my conversation with the scout?" "Every word of it Oh, this is too good to be true! Isn't it, Bertha ?" "Yes," said the other girl, in a choking voice. "After all our weeks of wandering with those red fiends, it is hard for me to believe that we have at last been rescued and are not to be given into the hands of the French "This is my cousin, Capt. Lee," said Alice. "I told you about her, you will remember." "I do remember very well," answered George, deferentially. "I am more happy than I can tell that Straight-Tongue was able to render you this service. You said that your father, and Miss Andrews', were part of the garrison at Fort William Henry?" "Yes." "And how were you captured?"
Rejoining the Guards. 53 "The French and Indians had been threatening an attack tm the fort for some time, and we were being sent to a place of safety. On the way our escort was set upon and killed, and we were captured." "You have had a terrible experience," said George, sympathetically. "When we get to Winchester, Col. Washington will care for you and take steps to send you back to your people." "We shall be glad to reach some place where we can be' among friends," said Bertha. "We have heard glowing reports of Col. Washington." Fire flashed in the young captain's eyes as he an swered: "If Col. Washington had had the ordering of opera tions in this war there would have been no defeats for the English arms. If Braddock had listened to Wash ington's counsel, the French would have been beaten and Fort Duquesne captured!" The love George Lee cherished for Washington, who had ever been his close friend, was shared by all the provincials. It was the French and Indian War, in fact which schooled Washington in the profession of
54 Rejoining the Guards. arms and fitted him for the high duties that devolved upon him during the Revolution. At this point of the conversation between George and the girls, Straight-Tongue called to the youth in a low voice. Instantly the captain stepped to the scout s side. "When we make that attack on Aouschik, cap 'n," said Straight-Tongue we ought to tak e him by sur prise. We mustn't give the old scoundrel any chance to get away." "If it is possible to surprise the Indian camp, Straight-Tongue," answered George, "we must do it." "We're liable to come up with the Guards any min ute, cap'n, and when we do some of those sneakin' varmints behind will give us the slip. It won't take 'em long to get back to old Aouschik and put him on his guard." "That's so," muttered George. "I'll send the Indians to the front instead of letting them trail along in the rear. When we come up with the Guards, the redskins will then be between us and them and will have little chance of escaping."
Rejoining the Guards. 55 "A good idee," said the scout. "But don't you send the Injuns ahead, You're supposed to be a pris ner, remember; the reds look to me as the one in authority." The young captain was forgetting the supposed rela tion he held to the scout, in the savages' eyes. "Right you are, Straight-Tongue," he returned. "You are the one to send the Indians ahead. Better do it at once." They came to a halt and the scout turned and beck oned to the warriors. The five of them approached in a body. Straight-Tongue motioned ahead and the braves gave vent to contemptuous grunts as they leaped forward in advance of the party. According to their notions, the French officer was afraid of lurking ene mies and wanted them in the van to disarm any threat ening peril. "I wish I had some ammunition for these pistols," said George, in a low tone, as the march was re sumed. "Aouschik was careful not to return the pow der and ball he took from me." "S'posin' you to be a pris'ner, cap'n," smiled the
Rejoining the Guards. scout, the chief didn t think I'd want you trusted with powder an' ball in addition to your pistols. I'm s pri s ed that he gave your weapons back to you. You can't always tell, though, jest--" The five Nipissings were around a bend in the trail, s o me di sta nce in the lead. While Straight-Tongue was talking he was interrupted by a shrill yell from the savages, followed by a ringing cheer and a discharge of guns. "The Guards cri e d the y oung captain. Two of the warriors came bounding back along the trail. "You take keer o one of 'em, cap 'n," said the scout, quickly, and I'll look out for the other." There was no time for words, and the youth sprang to interc ept one of the fleeing braves. It is hard to tell what the redmen may have thought regarding this in terference ; there was nothing for them to do, however, but to fight their way back to their own camp. The warrior tackled by George had fir e d his rifl e and had not had time to reload. Jerking his tomahawk clear of his belt, he aimed a blow with it. A scream
Rejoining the Guards. 57 broke from Alice for it se e med as though the young captain would surely be slain. But the girl did not know the youth as well as the scout did. Deftly evading the hatchet, George raised his pistol like lightning and brought the butt of it down with terrific force on the Nipissing s head. The redskin dropped without a groan. Straight-Tongue had b e en equally successful and had tripped his man and was holding him down with a knee on his che s t when the gallant Young Guardsmen came galloping into sight Lieuts. Mason and Vernon and Sergt. Willis in the lead. The brave Surefoot was not far behind them. And what a roaring cheer went up when the troopers caught sight of their young captain and StraightTongue The lads had all but up their youthful com mander, thinking him killed by a roving party of French and Indians, and to see him now, as well and hearty as ever, brought joy to ever y heart. were h as til y e x changed, and brief ex-
Rejoining the Guards. planations, to account for the presence of the young women and the present plight of Nimble Ned, were given. Three of the Nipissings had been killed and two captured, so, unless some stray runner carried word to Aouschik of the presence of Young Guardsmen, it would be quite possible to surprise the Indian camp. But not one minute must be lost. Ned's life was wavering in the balance and if he was saved it must be by quick work. George's and Ned's mounts had been found in the covert where they had been left on the preceding day, and were now being led by two of the company. The young captain leaped to the saddle detached Sergt. Willis and two privates to guard the girls, the captive Frenchman, and the two Nipissing prisoners, and with a wave of his sword and an encouraging shout started at full speed for Aouschik's camp, his gal lant company trooping at his heels.
CHAPTER V. A SKIRMISH. The Virginia Guards or "The Young Guardsmen, as the y were more familiarly known, had been recruited by George Lee, under special orders of Col. Washing ton. The utmost care had been exercised in choosing recruits, and the result was a company of lads of which an y country might well have been proud. They were the flower of the colony, numbered twen ty-one including their captain and not one of them had as yet reached his twenty first birthday. There was Kenward Mason a hand s ome youth of twenty, scion of an ancient family, as brave and quick in his movements as a tiger. He was first lieutenant. Frank Vernon tall sprightly, yet strong as an ox, two y ears younger than Mason, was second lieutenant. It was he who had fallen in love with Straight Tongue's daughter, as has be e n stated. Thes e two lads, to g eth e r with Harry Willis, sergeant had been G eorge L ee s fir s t recruits.
60 A Skirmish. The company had seen much active service, and had lost several out of their ranks. There was no difficulty in filling the files, for applications were continually being received by the captain for places in the Guards. Throughout the whole of Virginia it was looked upon as a high honor to belong to Capt. Lee's troop. More than once the company had served as special bodyguard to Washington, and as an escort of honor of Gov. Dinwiddie, George's uncle. Sergt. Willis and two privates, as has already been mentioned, were detached to take charge of the two girls and the prisoners, and were to remain at a safe distance from the scene of the projected conflict. Willis was not in love with this waiting duty, and neither were the two privates, for that matter. Ac tive service was what every one of the young Guards most eagerly desired. But they were all good sol diers and knew well that the first rule of a good sol dier is to obey Grders. Depleted by this detachment, George's force num bered eighteen; but the two scouts, Straight-Tongue
A Skirmish. and Surefoot, who were now serving with the troop, brought the number up to a round score. When near the Indian camp, strict silence was en joined and the young captain called a halt. "The savages are more than double our numbers," said George, "but, if it is a possible thing, we must clear them out, root and branch. Aouschik is a veri table fiend, and has been butchering the colonists, men, women and children, far and wide. You are to show him no mercy-for Col. Washington has so ordered it. "The Indian camp is pitched in the valley of the small stream, whose waters you can see ahead, through the trees. I think it will be well to split up into two detachments, one detachment to attack from the upper end of the valley to which this trail leads, and the other detachment to go down stream, under cover of the woods, and rush the camp from the lower end of the valley. What do you think of the plan, Straight Tongue and Surefoot ?" "A good un, it strikes me," said Surefoot. "We'll get the reds between two fires, in the valley, by goin' about it that way," added Straight-Tongue.
A Skirmish. "What do you and Vernon think, Mason?" George went on, turning to his lieutenants. "Just as you do, captain," both lieutenants an swered. "I will lead one detachment and you will head the other, Mason," the young captain proceeded. "Straight-Tongue will stay with me and Surefoot will go with you; Vernon will also go with you. Pick your men, lieutenant, and start down stream as soon as possible. We will not charge, up here, until we hear the echo of your rifles." Thus it was arranged. Lieut. Mason chose half of the privates and departed swiftly and silently into the woods. George and his half of the troop rode so close to the edge of the timber that they could look down into the valley. Everything was quiet about the Indian camp. The squaws were busily at work about their multifarious duties and the warriors were lolling in the shade, taking no notice of the dogs that roamed sniffing around the camp. The curs it s eeme d scented approaching danger, but with th e s tron g French post of Duquesne
A Skirmish. so near, Aouschik and his braves were not thinking of any hostile English. Half an hour passed. Then, abruptly, a rattle of firearms came from the lower end of the valley, ac companied by a clatter of hoofs and a volley of stout English cheers. Instantly the Indian camp was thrown into feverish excitement. Warriors leaped up and ran for their weapons, squaws rushed screaming into their lodges, or snatched their children and made for the timber. Aouschik rushed furiously out of a teepee firelock in hand, and began rallying his warriors with fierce commands. Flocking together, the savages began racing down the valley, blazing away with their rifles, and then, their bullets spent, falling back on their bows and arrows. The surprise had been complete, but, under the clear headed orders of Aouschik, the warriors were recover ing admirably. Eight of their number had fallen under the volley sent into their ranks by Mason and his men. Now was the opportune moment to take the
A Skirmish. savages m the rear and administer a telling blow that would mean defeat. George rose in his stirrups and flourished his sword. "Charge!" he shouted. And away went his detachment of the guards, riding pell-mell into the valley and hurling themselves fiercely upon the rear of Aouschik's forces. The guns belched their deadly hail and mowed down a swath of the Caught between two fires, and dazed by the suddenness with the trap had been sprung, the warriors wavered; then, in spite of Aouschik's frantic attempt to hold them together, they broke and ran up the timbered sides of the valley, throwing aside their guns and tomahawks in order to lighten themselves for their race for life. Rout and panic could not have been more complete. "Follow them!" roared George. "Capture Aous chik Washington's orders boys! Don t let Aouschik escape!" He himself plunged after the fleeing savage. Wi ping, loading and priming his firelock as he ran, the
A Skirmish. beaten chief halted at the timber line and took careful aim at Capt. Lee. At least six rifles spit their balls at him while he took aim, but by some he remained unharmed. Suddenly George felt himself jerked sideways in the saddle; at the same moment a bullet sang through the air and brought down a private behind him "That's the time I saved ye, cap'n," spoke Straight Tongue, grimly. "Ye wouldn't dodge, o' course notbut I made ye! Lor', look at that red varmint! He's gone like a streak." "Keep after him!" roared George. "He must not escape!" But the wily Aouschik did escape, nevertheless, and with all of his warriors who were able to follow. The camp was burned and a great store of ammuni tion, recently received from the French, at Duquesne, was destroyed. Not only that, but forty scalps were found, grewsome trophies of Aouschik's foray the south. The sight of the scalps made the Young Guards men wild to kill every one of t he wounded savages; a
66 A Skirmish. few sensible words from their captain, however, dis pelled this madness. The squaws were allowed to proceed toward Duquesne with their children and their wounded. Before the lodges were burned, a search of them was made and Nimble Ned found. The boy was tightly secured with thongs, and, when released, rushed over to his captain and him a bear's hug. "Knew ye wouldn't leave me ter be burned at the stake, cap 'n," said he, joyfully. "You ain't the sort to desert a comrade, 'most everybody knows that, I reckon. But if ye hadn't come jest when ye did, I'd have been a goner. They was gettin' ready ter burn me-the squaws were bringin' in the wood. Lordy, but I came within one o' gettin' the shakes !" One of the troopers took Ned up behind him. Ned's horse had been left with Sergt. Willis, and it would be necessary for the boy to ride double with the trooper until the victorious Guards rejoined the sergeant and his party. George had lost two of his brave boys, one falling in Mason's attack and one going down llnder the bullet
A Skirmish. fired by Aouschik. Four were wounded, but not seri ously enough to keep them out of the saddle or pre vent them from marching. Graves were hastily dug, in a cleared spot overlooking the bright waters of the little stream, and the fallen troopers tenderly laid in their last resting place. There was a fraternal feeling among the Guards, and their loss struck sadly to their hearts. But it was the for tune of war, and there was not one in the company who would not gladly have laid down bis life for his countr y. The Indian dead were left to be cared for by the squaws, and by Frenchmen from the fort. It was necessary for the Guards not to delay a retreat to Winchester, for the escaped savages would carry the news of the skirmish to the officer in command at Fort Duquesne, and an overwhelming force would be sent in pursuit of the venturesome colonials. As rapidly as possible, a return was made to the place where Willis had been left with the three prisoners-the two Nipissings and the French officerand the rescued girls.
61 A Skirmish. From that place on the march was continued by way of the old road traversed by the ill-fated Braddock as he marched upon Duquesne with flying bann e rs and all the pomp and panoply of war. What a sad com mentary on the conceit and self-confidence of generals was that advance when compared with the miserable rout and retreat that followed I
CHAPTER VI. A REQUEST F ROM THE GOVERNOR. Two days after his victory over the Nipissings, Capt. George Lee led his worn but triumphant guardsmen into Winchester. Alice Mason and Bertha Andrews were made welcome in the home of one of the towns people, the prisoners were sent to the guardhouse, the troopers sought their barracks, and George went per sonally to report to Col. Washington. This was early in July of the year 1757. Almost two years to a day before this period, or in 1755, Braddock's army had been "done up so brown" by the French and their red allies, the remnant of the illstarred general's army being saved only by the cool headed resourcefulness of the youthful Washington, a ide d by Capt. Lee and his Guards. Since that fateful epoch, Washington had been stationed on the frontier, at Winchester. His great spirit chaf e d under the sad reverses th a t everywhere attended the British arms. He longed to
70 A Request from the Governor. enthuse some of his own energy into Lord Loudon, who had come out from England to hurl the French back from the Ohio and drive them into Canada but who was simply "marking time" with his army, dreaming of conquests and forming great plans, but accom plishing nothing. Lord Loudon was now in New York with an army of six thousand men, preparing to take ship for Hali fax in a campaign against Louisburg. Admiral Holboum was already sailing from England with seven teen ships-of-the-line and a re-enforcement for Lou don of five thousand troops under Lord George Howe. It seemed, at last, as though something would really be accomplished, and all the colonies were eagerly awaiting the results of the projected campaign against the French stronghold in the North. Washington's pet plan was the capture of Fort Duquesne. In March, of this year, a council of governors had been held in Philadelphia, and Washington had obtained permission from Gov. Dinwiddle to attend it, desiring to represent to Lord Loudon the interests of Virginia. Especially did Washington wish to urge
A Request from the Governor. 71 upon the commander-in-chief the expediency of an attack on Duquesne while operations were going on against Louisburg, as a large part of the garrison at this fort, at the head of the Ohio, had been withdrawn to the Canadian frontier. Loudon did not approve of Washington's plan, desiring that the southern colonies should merely stand on the defensive. He gave orders, however, in accordance with Washington's advice, to withdraw the garrison from Fort Cumberland, leaving Maryland to supply that point, and make Fort Loudon, at Winchester, the headquarters of the Virginia militia. Stanwix was stationed on the frontier of Pennsylvania, Col. Henry Bouquet had charge of the Carolina border, and Webb had nearly six thousand men to defend the important posts about Lake George. Webb was another unreliable officer, as the later in cidents of this chronicle will show. Just how unre liable he was, our young Capt. Lee was to discover from personal experience. In this wise, it fell out that Washington's pet plan for the subjugation of Duquesne was to wait upon the
71 A Request from the Governor. operations against Louisburg. This great provincial, head and shoulders above all the "regulars" sent out by the home government, was thus compelled to remain comparatively inactive in the obscurity of his border post. The colonel met George at the door of his head quarters and greeted him with a warm handclasp. "I was expecting you, lad," said Washington, with a kindly smile. "News of your work has already been brought to me, and even before I hear your r eport I want to congratulate you on the success of your foray." "I did not succeed in capturing or killing Chief Aouschik, colonel," said George. "So rumor has it; but rumor also tells me y ou fought a gallant battle, killed many of Aouschik's warriors and destroyed his camp and stores." "That is true, colonel." "Then, sir, it will prove a victory that will put heart into our struggling forces. Armstrong did scarcely more when he descended upon the savages at Kittan ing." The youth flushed under his colonel's praise.
A Request from the Governor. 73 "I expected you to report to me shortly, George," pursued Washington, "but I could have spared you time for a little test and refreshment." "I will report first, sir," answered the captain, "and then I shall have ample time to rest." Washington smiled strangely. "Hardly as much time as you think, my lad." George started. "Have you further orders for me, colonel?" "Yes, and from your uncle, the governor. But we will let them rest for the moment. Tell me about this little campaign of yours, and pray leave out none of the details." George at once launched into the narrative .of his adventures, being questioned now and again by the colonel on some point that brought out the captain's own particular work. "You are too modest, friend George," said Washington, when the report was finished. "Did I not search you with questions, you would give all the credit to others and reserve little for yourself. Go, now,
74 A Request from the Governor. and in the morning come back to me, prepared for a journey." "A long journey, colonel?" "Far to the North. Possibly you may see service in a distant part of the colonies." "I should prefer, colonel," said George, earnestly, "to remain and see service with you." A sad and impatient look crept over the colonel's face. "But little work of importance is my Lord Loudon allowing me to do," said he, but not with bitterness. "He would have us all as dilatory as he is himself, it seems. But it is of no avail to kick against the pricks. All in good time, I suppose, something worth while will fall to our lot." Washington paused for a space and then went on : "I well know your eagerness for active service, George, and mayhap these orders from the governor will afford you an opportunity to take part in affairs of great importance. That will have to be as you and your uncle may decide. I know he thinks a great deal of you and would probably grant any request you
A Request from the Governor. 75 might make to go to the front. You are privileged to take one comrade with you-I will tell you that much, now, since it will also be necessary for the comrade you select to make his own preparations. Who will you choose for companion ?" George turned the matter over in his mind. He had been dispatched to Philadelphia by the gov ernor, some time before, and at that time had taken Frank Vernon with him. This time he felt he should throw his favor elsewhere. "Kenward Mason, I think," said he. "Just the lad I was going to suggest!" exclaimed Washington. "Vernon will remain at Winchester in temporary command of the Guardsmen, and y ou and Mason will cast your elsewhere for a time. Go now, my boy, for I have detained you overlong. On the way to your quarters, send to me these young ladies whom Straight-Tongue rescued by his strategy. A smart fellow, that scout I I shall not forget him." "He is worthy of the best that can come to him, colonel," George said warmly, as he saluted and with drew.
76 A Request from the Governor. On his way to the barracks, the young captain picked up a militiaman whom he knew and took him along to the house where Alice and her cousin had found temporary lodgings. He communicated to the young ladies the colonel's request, and the militiaman guided them to headquarters. After that, to find Kenward Mason was no difficult matter. Although nothing of a fop, Lieut. Mason took a certain pride in his personal appearance, just as every good-looking young fellow ought to do. When George came upon him, he was in front of a cracked looking glass, in his quarters, shaving off the insipient beard with which nature had covered his face during the foray. "Sprucing yourself up a bit, eh, Mason?" laughed George. "Got to keep up the credit of our gallant captain's troop, you know," grinned Mason, looking around. "Of course," answered George. "By the way, captain, where did you say Miss An drews and her cousin are staying?" The question was very innocently put.
A Request from the Governor. 77 "Oh, ho!" exclaimed George. "So the wind lies in that direction, does it? You care Jess for the credit of the troop, l fear, than for the impression you hope to make on Miss Andrews." "I won't say as to that," returned Mason, "but be tween you and me and the gate post, captain, Miss Andrews is about as handsome a young woman as I've seen in many a day." "You were quite devoted to her on our ride back to Winchester. I noticed that." "You notice everything," said Mason, with another gnn. "Where did you say she was staying?" "I didn't say, but I will now," and George told him where the ladies might be found after their interview with the colonel. "I hope the ladies are going to favor the camp with their presence for a while," remarked Mason, pres ently. "So you can cultivate the acquaintance of Miss Andrews, eh?" George said, slyly. "Well, that wouldn't be the last thing I should attempt," admitted Kenward.
78 A Request from the Governor. "I had made some plans for you, Mason, but if you are set on keeping close to Miss Andrews, I presume you won't care to keep very close to me. I'll get some one else to--" "You'll do no such thing!" cried Mason, whirling around and flourishing his razor. "Duty before pleasure every time, captain. What are your plans for me?" "We are to go on detached duty, leave Virginia, per haps see service in the North." "Huzzah!" jubilated Mason. "That would please me more than I can tell, captain. Tell me more about it." "I can't, for I don't know very much about it myself, as yet. We are to report to Col. Washington in the morning for further instructions. Meantime, Ken ward, prepare yourself for the trip." "I will, certainly. Part of my preparations will con sist of calling on Miss Andrews and bidding her adieu." "That part of it doesn't concern me," smiled George. "They are beautiful girls, the two of them, and I wish you luck in making a conquest." Thereupon the young captain repaired to his own
A Request from the Governor. 79 lodgings. Next morning, after military duties had been finished, he was joined by Mason, and they made their call on the colonel. Washington was sitting at a desk littered with papers, when they entered. He welcomed them cordially and motioned them to chairs. While y ou were absent on your foray into the wilderness," said he, coming to the point of the inter view without delay, "a messenger arrived from Wil liamsburg, bearing a letter from Gov. Dinwiddie. Urgent matters, connected with military operations, call the governor to New York, and he leaves very shortly on a packet now lying in the roadstead off the capital. "He wishes you, Capt. Lee, to accompany him, and also one other of your Young Guardsmen-Lieut. Mason, I believe, is the one you have chosen. You two lads are to act as secretaries to his excellency, and I know you will fulfill your duties to his entire satisfaction." The captain s face fell a little at this. What he wanted was active servic e not drudgery at a desk
80 A Request from the Governor. such as this request of the governor's seemed to infer. Washington took note of the youth's disappointment. "The duties of secretary will not keep you long after you reach New York," the colonel went on, hastily, "and then, if you are wise, you will cast your eyes over a map, find out where the sharpest work is impending, and request leave of the governor to pay a personal visit to the place. This is only a suggestion, mark you," the colonel added, with a broad smile. Capt. Lee revived wonderfully and exchanged glances of deepest satisfaction with Mason. "Thank you for the suggestion, colonel," said George. "We shall certainly follow it." "Certainly," added Mason. "Could you give us a further suggestion, colonel, as to where we will be likely to find the warmest work? Perhaps if we sail with Loudon to Halifax--" "You will not reach New York in time for that,'' interrupted the colonel. "Unless there are further de lays, Lord Loudon will have sailed long before you arrive in New York. It seems to me," he added, re flectively, "that if I were going to choose a place
A Request from the Governor. 81 where my services would be most needed, I should go into the Lake George country-perhaps to Fort Wil liam Henry." "We will go to Fort William Henry, colonel," said Capt. Lee, "providing my uncle will grant us permis sion." "Montcalm," pursued Washington, "has had his eyes on Fort William Henry ever since February. Rigaud de Vaudreuil, on the twenty-third of that month, marched with one thousand five hundred men to at tack the fort, but the garrison was on the alert, and Rigaud thought it useless to attempt to capture the place by assault. But if I can read that sly fox, Mont calm, this failure will not daunt him. He will bide his time until Loudon is away to Louisburg, and then he will strike. There'll be warm work at Fort William Henry, my lads." This was but one evidence of the phenomenal fore sight of Col. Washington-a foresight that was sub stantiated by events to follow. After a studious si lence, the colonel aroused himself with a start. "To come back to your present mission," he went
82 A Request from the Governor. on, "it will be my duty to detail you lads to escort a couple of rescued prisoners to Williamsburg, there to consign them into the hands of the governor, who, un less I greatly misdoubt him, will provide for their passage to New York on this packet, and thence to Albany, where the rescued prisoners have friends." Lieut. Mason jumped forward in his chair. "These rescued prisoners are--?" said he, with breathless interest. "One of them is of your own name, lieutenant," re turned Washington, his eyes a-twinkle. "Mistresses Alice Mason and Bertha Andrews," said George. "It will give me-I should say us--great pleasure to conduct the rescued prisoners safely to Williamsburg, colonel," observed Kenward, with becoming gravity. "Very well," said the colonel. "I have given orders for horses to be made ready for the ladies, and, of course, you lads will use your own mounts. The gov ernor's orders should not be attended with any un necessary delay, and all that remains is for me to bid you good-by and God-speed." The colonel arose and
A Request from the Governor. SJ took each lad by the hand. "I shall be glad to have you with me again, but you may tarry in the North for some months, and you will, and yet return to Virginia in time to assist in the reduction of Duquesne." To know this great man intimately was to love him. He could be austere, when he would, and on great occasions his temper has beaten down his iron will and flared out scorchingly. History tells how, years later, at Monmouth, he gave fierce correction to Lee, and well deserved that tongue-lashing was. Nor was the colonel lax in discipline, never having been known to countenance undue familiarity on the part of the rank and file. He was a God-fearing gentleman: no words could describe his character better. A short hour after George and Kenward had withdrawn from their colonel's presence, they were on the road to Williamsburg, the two young ladies riding with them and no less a personage than Nimble Ned trailing along behind. Ned had begged to be taken as far as Williamsburg, at least, if not all the way to New York. The sly rogue complained of physical suffering on account of
84 A Request from the Governor. his ordeal among the Nipissings-a disa'oility that quite unfitted him for garrison duty and necessitated an im mediate change tq the town He had been as hearty as ever during the ride to Winchester, but the moment he heard of the proj e cted trip of the captain and lieutenant, he pulled a long face and declared that his life depended on an immediate change in his surroundings. So George, on r e ceiving permission from the colonel, took the boy along, and his health made a wonderful tum for the better before Fort Loudon had fairly van ished ftom sight behind them.
CHAPTER VII. IN WILLIAMSBURG. The journey from Winchester to Williamsburg safely and expeditiously made by the little party of riders. Lieut. Mason improved the golden moments in ingratiating himself intc the good graces of Bertha Andrews. In a spirit of banter, he tried to prove that all Masons were kith and kin; therefore, if he was nearer than friend to Alice, it followed that he must be distantly related to Bertha, and so entitled to gentle consideration. Duke of Gloucester Street, Williamsburg, never look e d fairer to these lads, who were riding along it again after a long term on the frontier. The Colle g e of William and Mary, at the head of the street, which t hey had attended, was no less familiar to them t'han th e S tadt House, at the other end of the thoroughfare, wh e re th e governor, perchance, was now awaiting them. The ladies were temporaril y s e t down at a tavern,
86 In Williamsburg. there to wait until George could communicate with his uncle regarding them. In order that the girls might not be obliged to stay long at the public ordinary, George made haste to reach his home and make himself presentable for the coming interview with the governor. Donning his city frills, and with dress sword dan gling at his side, he emerged into the streets in the early afternoon and sought his uncle's office in the Stadt House. By great good fortune he encountered his friend, Patrick Henry, and they walked for some distance together discoursing, as friends will, on coming together in such stirring times. Henry inquired particularly about Col. Washington, and bitterly inveighed against Loudon for keeping the colonel pent up in Winchester while the weakened garrison at Duquesne invited attack and capture. "Ah! lad," said Henry, as they parted at the Stadt House steps, "if your good colonel had charge of the king's forces instead of these men from over sea, there would be triumphs instead of defeats for our men-in arms. Mark what I tell thee: There will be a fiasco before Louisburg, and a yet greater calamity will be-
In Williamsburg. fall our soldiers ere the tide turns. Would that Washington might be at the helm before it is too late!" The young lawyer strode away, hands clasped behind him, and head bowed. He was a patriot now truly, fully as much as later when he electrified the assembly with his memorable speech ending with the words : "I know not what course others may take, but, as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" Gov. Dinwiddie was proud of his nephew, as he had good cause to be, and greeted him affectionately. After the first greetings, and some exchange of news regarding the military situation, the governor stated that the packet was to sail on the following morning, and they were to sail with her. His excellency inquired as to the comrade whom George had selected to ac company him and seemed pleased when he learned that it was Lieut. Mason. "The two foremost officers of the Guards!" ex claimed his excellency. "I shall go to New York under gallant escort, nephew." "I have a letter from Col. Washington in regard to another matter, sir," said George, handing over the
88 In Williamsburg. communication that had to do with Miss Mason and her cousin. The governor pursed up his lips and a displeased look crossed his face as he read the letter. "I should think your colonel might do better than to burden me with the care of these young women, nephew," he remarked, fretfully. "I am going north to attend to weighty matters, and have no time to bother with rescued prisoners." I They will give you little trouble, sir, I can promise that," responded George. "They are of good families, and the father of each of them is serving his country at Fort William Henry." "Well, your colonel has cut my cloth for me according to his own pattern, and I needs must yield, I sup pose. Send the young women to my house, where they may be properly looked after until the packet sails. There will be no duties for you and Mason, nephew, until we are aboard ship, so dispose of your time ac cordingly." George respectfully withdrew, returned to the or dinary where the young ladies had been left and found
In Williamsburg. Kenward there, helping them most agreeably to pass the time. He announced that the girls were to be guests of the governor until the packet sailed in the morning, and the four of them started immediately for the governor s mansion. Alice and Bertha were in something of a flutter be cause of the honors thus heaped upon them. They fretted as women will, about their personal appearance, and would have given much for certain wardrobes just then in distant Albany. They were no longer clad in the barbaric garments given them by their red captors, the town of Winchester having supplied their needs, to the best of its ability, with gowns more in keeping with their station, if hardly more becoming. Winchester's ability in this direction could not go far, of course, but the beauty of the wearers amply atoned for the rustic simplicity of their apparel. On the way through Gloucester Street, an incident occurred which rendered the young captain quite ill-at ease in mind. An open chariot passed, a black slave on the box, and ladies of quality withi n.
In Williamsburg. Two fair women were passengers, and as the eyes of one turned in the direction of George and his com panions, an exclamation escaped her. With a word she halted the chariot and the vehicle was instantly turned toward the walk. "Gad, Lee!" exclaimed Mason "Here is the fair Mistress Randolph and the charming Joanna. Your appearance is something of a surprise to them, I'll war rant." As the carriage stopped, George advanced quickly, smiling and doffing his hat. The others tarried behind for a moment. "George I" cried Amy Randolph, impulsively, her handsome face aglow at sight of her lover. "Is it pos sible you are in Williamsburg and never came to see me?" "We only arrived this morning, Amy," answered George. "We?" repeated Amy, her glance pass:ng to Mason and Alice, and her cousin. "Yes, Amy. The ladies you see with Lieut. Mason have been long in captivity among the Nipissings.
In Williamsburg. 91 Your father, Joanna"-and here the captain turned to Amy's companion-"succeeded in rescuing them and also myself from the hands of the savages. I like to present them to you, Amy--" "Pray do not, Capt. Lee," broke in Amy, with a toss of the head. "I am beginning to understand why you have not called to see me before." George flushed under the hidden meaning of his sweetheart's words. "Indeed, Amy," he protested, "you do me wrong. I was obliged to ride in haste to Williamsburg, escorting the young ladies. Col. Washington gave Mason and me that duty." "There were no others among the Guards capable of performing it, I suppose," said Amy. "It fell in with other plans," answered George. "Gov. Dinwiddie had sent for me, and I was obliged to ride hither in haste. I was going to pay my respects to you this evening, and explain--" "Explanations are unnecessary," broke in my lady, biting her lip with vexation and bestowing upon Alice
In Williamsburg. and Bertha such a look as a jealous woman alone can give. "Drive on, Ccesar, Amy added, to the black. "Just a moment, Cresar, spoke up Joanna. She was at the side of th e vehicl e nearest George, and she now leaned over to whisper in his ear: "Take heart, captain 'Tis the green-e y ed monster scratching at Mistress Amy s heart. Come to the house this evening and you will find the storm has passed. Now tell me: Is Frank well? "In the best of health, Joanna, and has intrusted me with this for you George handed a letter to the girl. She caught it eagerly, blushing to the eyes. "And-and my fath er?" Joanna queried. "He is also well and has covered him s elf with much honor during our r e cent sortie against the Nipissings." "Thank you, captain. Remember-come to the house this evening and all will be well Joanna straight e n e d back in her seat and Cresar drove on Mistress Am y very e rect and looking straight ahead. George's h eart r e b elle d against this trifling
In Williamsburg. 93 tyranny, unjust to him and utterly unlike the win some Amy whom he loved so devotedly. Pale and perplexed, he stepped back and watched the chariot until it vanished "Mistress Arriy appears displeased," quoth Mason, as he and the ladies advanced to George's side. 'Tis nothing, Kenward," answered George. "Is the lady a friend of yours, captain?" inquired Alice. "Yes," answered George, absently. They were walking on, Alice with George and Bertha with Kenward. A sly laugh from Bertha hinted that Mason had been telling the true situation to her. Possibly, also, Alice divined what was wrong, for a woman's wit is ever quick in such things. "I am sorry," said she, in a low tone, "if Bertha and I have been the cause of any unhappiness to you, Capt. Lee." A sorrowful tone crept into her voice, and a strange light grew in her eyes as she spoke
94 In Williamsburg. "There is no unhappiness," rejoined George, bravely, and immediately turned the subject. After the ladies had been presented to the governor's g ood dame, and left in her charge, Mason lingering a t th e house with them, George returned slowly to his own home. He was pained to discover his sweetheart in such a mood, and was of a mind to retaliate by keeping away from her home that evening. But he was going away for an absence of some length, and his unselfi s h love finally beat down the trace of resentment he felt. Eight of the clock found him at the Randolph house. A disa g r e eable surprise awaited him. Joanna was at home, but Amy had gone. "She thought she would wound you a little, captain," s a id Joa nna to pa y for the wound y ou have given her." "Where has she gone, Joanna?" To a ball, given in honor of the officers of a man-a' -war w hich recently dropped anchor in the harbor." "With whom did s he go?" "With a young lieutenant who has been dancing
In Williamsburg. 95 attendance upon her of late. Heretofore the lieutenant has had nothing but rebuffs for his pains ; to night registers his first stroke. George s face became very gloomy. "There, there, captain," rallied the girl, "your hold upon Amy s heart is too strong to be weakened by even an admiral, let alone a mere lieutenant." "Why have you not gone to the ball, Joanna?" queried George. "Because I was expecting you, and because"-she flushed and drooped her eyes-"because I take no pleasure in balls if Frank is not there." "True heart !" exclaimed George. As he knew, Vernon would be delighted. "There was another reason for my staying," went on Joanna, archly. "What was that?" "Amy would have me meet you and find out every thing about the two fair ones with whom she saw y ou in Gloucester Street. So, captain tell me all, for when she is back from the ball AmY, will not seek her
In Williamsburg. bed until she asks me a thousand questions. To-mor row, if you call, I assure you that she will be all smiles and contrition." The young captain's hurt, because of his sweetheart's conduct, was deeper than he cared to show. To hide the wound he assumed a careless air and reviewed his campaign against the Nipissings for Joanna's benefit and, indirectly, for the benefit of Amy. But not a whisper did he breathe concerning his de parture in the morning. When he left Joanna she be lieved that he would be in the capital for some time and looked for any early meeting between the lovers to adjust their differences. The history of the foray finished, George took his leave. Early the following day he and Mason repaired to the governor's house and, together with his excel lency and the ladies, was driven to the wharf. A long boat was waiting for them and they got in, were put aboard the packet, and presently dropped down the river on their voyage to New York.
In Williamsburg. 97 It was a bright, beautiful morning and George stood apart from his friends, gazing at the clustered roofs of Williamsburg until they were lost in the distance. His heart was heavy and he was taking little pleasure in the thought of active service ahead.
CHAPTER VIII. ON TO LAKE GEORGE. The packet had a safe and prosperous voyage and came to anchor off New York about the middle of July. Gov. Dinwiddie, together with his s e cretaries and the young ladies, took quarters at an inn, and the State business that had brought him North went briskly forward. There was little for George and Kenward to do and the young captain had long since made up his mind that he and his comrade were wanted more as military aides than as secretaries. They were a sort of guard of honor to his excellency, the governor taking much pleasure in presenting them as officers of the famous Virginia Guards. Throughout all the colonies the Young Guardsmen were well and favorably known, and many flattering attentions were accorded the captain and his lieutenant. 1The youthful comrades, however, chafed under the
On to Lake George. 99 delay that kept them from the field. All signs were portentous of sharp work on the part of the French. Loudon had sailed on the ninth with all his forces for the Louisburg campaign. As soon as it was known by the French that he had started, Montcalm pro ceeded about the work for which he had been pre paring since January-the striking of a blow against the English fortifications on Lake George. With customary shrewdness he had done everything possible to incite the Indians and secure their aid in his pro jected operations. On the first of July a grand council had been held at Niagara, the Iroquois giving war belts to the Otta was, Hurons and other allies of the French, in token of their intenton to join the enemies of the English A war belt, covered with vermilion, was returned to the Iroquois, which served as an invitation to hostilities. The Iroquois were desired to bring to their father, the French governor, some of the bad meat for which they had a fondness. By "bad meat" they meant the English. At Montreal another grand council was held, thirty-
100 On to Lake George. three tribes being represented, including chiefs from Acadia to Lake Superior. Said a chief of the Senecas: "We will try our father 's hatchet on the English, to see if it cuts well." Montcalm spent his time singing war songs. He was a lead e r who knew not defeat and the chiefs loved him on that account, thinking he would make it possible for them to secure much plunder and many scalps. This warlike intelligence was brought to New York and created general uneasiness. It added to the im patience of the young comrades-in-arms to be off to the front immediately and made them thoroughly dis satisfied with their task of acting as inconsequential figureheads in the governor's train. After several days the governor's business drew to ward a close. About this time a small mounted troop halted in New York on its way to join Webb, at Fort Edward, fifteen miles distant from Fort William Henry. Nimble Ned, who was constantly about the town, keeping his eyes and ears wide open, brought the news to George and Kenward.
On to Lake George. 101 "Kenward," said George, "if possible we must go with that troop. I am heartily tired of loitering here when every available man may be needed at Lake George." "My sentiments exactly, captain," responded Mason. "His excellency the governor keeps us jumping from place to place, and for two whole days now I haven't had an opportunity for ten minutes' conversation with Bertha." "There are other things to think of besides Bertha," quoth George, a trifle testily. "Or Amy?" laughed Kenward. "Yes, or Amy." The young captain smothered the disagreeable reflections his comrade had aroused. "I am going to see the governor at once and ask him to let us go North." "Shall I go with you?" "I think I can manage it better alone." George found the governor in his room, planning his departure for home. "My business is finished, and well finished," said he. "To-morrow, nephew, we leave by coach for Philadel-
102 On to Lake George. phia, and will take passage for Williamsburg on a sloop in the tobacco trade." "Sir," answered George, "will you allow me to test Montcalm's mettle before going South?" The governor started. "What mean you, boy ?" he demanded, fixing a keen look on the youth's face. "The Earl of Loudon, sir, has given us little to do in Virginia and there is a promise of sharp fighting at Lake George. Mason and I wish to go there." "No, no, nephew. There are men enough at Lake George. You must go back with me. Your colonel needs you." "Col. Washington said we might be needed more at Fort William Henry than at Winchester." "He said that, did he?" frowned the governor "Has he egged you on to--" "Sir, do not misjudge the colonel," broke in Geor ge, hastily, sorry he had referred to Washington's words "He said nothing but what I was more than glad to hear." "Since Braddock's defeat there was not the same
On to Lake George. 103 friendliness between Gov. Dinwiddie and Washington that there had been before. The governor had strongly desired to give another the post of commander-in-chief of the militia forces, but popular opinion had singled out Washington and the governor had been compelled to bow to it. For a long time his excellency was silent. At last he said: "You're a young hot head, nephew-I have not for gotten how some of your comrades refer to you as 'Capt. Hotspur.' If you are bound to go, go; but Vir ginia may need you more than New York does." "Not for some time, sir," said George, his face flush ing with pleasure. "Most of the French forces have been withdrawn from the Southern frontier to aid Montcalm in the North. After the French strike this blow, for which they have been so long preparing, Virginia will need us, and not before. We will be there, then." "If you live," qualified the governor. "A soldier, sir, is content with the fortunes of war," was all the young captain answered.
104 On to Lake George. "Gad!" cried the governor, "I'm proud of you, George I Show these Northerners what two lads of Southern blood can do--then come home." So it was arranged, and Capt. Lee lost no time in carrying his good news to Lieut. Mason. Arrange ments were also made for them to accompany the troop that was to fare toward the scene of threatened hostilities; and, further, they were to guide and guard Alice and Bertha to Albany, where the young ladies had relatives. Asserting that they were abundantly able to bear the hardships of a hurried ride in the saddle, Alice and Bertha were given mounts, and rode between George and Kenward in the van of the troop. The start was made on a fair morning and Gov. Din widdie was abroad early to bid his nephew and com panions adieu and Godspeed. At the very last moment it seemed as though his excellency would withdraw his permission and not allow the Young Guardsmen to start. Making note of his vacillation, George hur ried affairs, even to the extent of taking the road ahead of the troop.
On to Lake George. "Now, then, cried Bertha, when they were well away, on to Albany I" "On to Lake George!" returned Kenward. The joy faded from the girl's face as her eyes rested upon the lieutenant. She knew well that his stout cry, "On to Lake George !" would carry him into dire peril, and the young captain read that in her look which conv i nced him that Kenward had won her heart.
CHAPTER IX. DISPATCH BEARERS. Albany was reached by the travelers, in due course, and here Alice and Bertha, who had long been given up for lost, were received by their overjoyed relatives. When captured by Aouschik the girls had been on their way to Albany. As they had not reached that town, the only inference to be drawn was that they had fallen into the hands of the foe. Now it was as though they had returned from the grave. The troop with whom they and the Young Guards men had ridden from New York comprised an inde pendent company of J erseymen, under one Capt. Alonzo Buck. They were rangers to a man and were anxious only to get where they could be of most service to their country. As reports from the Lake George region were every day growing more threatening and momentous, the troop tarried but a single night in Albany and then continued North.
Dispatch Bearers. 107 Letters were given to the two Virginia lads by Alice and Bertha, and were to be delivered into the hand s of Capt. Andrews and Sergt. Mason, at Fort William Henry. The parting between Kenward Mason and Bertha Andrews was a sorrowful one. During the weeks that had flown since they had met in the wilderness near Duquesne, acquaintance had ripened into a deep at tachment. George sat his horse, in front of the house where the girls were lodged, holding his comrade's mount and waiting for him to finish his adieus. When Kenward appeared he came hurriedly, vaulted without a word to the back of the waiting animal and set George a wild pace. "All fair, comrade?" GeOi"ge asked, when he had overtaken his friend. "She cares for me, captain," answered Kenward; "she said so." "A noble girl, Kenward, and I wish you joy!" "It was hard to leave her," proceeded the lieuten ant, gloomily, "and I hope we'll have some brisk work
J08 Dispatch Bearers. to engage us. When a fellow is as deep in love as I am he must have something to keep his mind busy." George thought as much, himself. His thoughts w e re continually flying off to Amy, in Williamsburg, and he never ceased to wonder if she had gotten over the pet in which he had left her. "Brisk work is an excellent tonic, Ken ward re sponded George. Mason gave his comrade a look out of the tails of his eyes. "You need a little of the tonic as well as I, George,,, said he. "I do ," admitted George, and I think, lad, we shall get plenty of it wher e we are going." A few minutes later they rejoined Buck and his rangers, and Nimble Ned, and pushed hard for Fort Edward. Alarming information was vouchsafed them by every one they met or passed on the road. Sub stantially, the information was as follows: Montcalm's whole army, consisting of five thousand five hundred regulars and Canadians and one thousand six hundred Indians, had left Ticonderoga for the foot
Dispatch Bearers. l09 of Lake George. A scarcity of boats had developed, and a division of forces had been made. The Chevalier De Levis; with two thousand two hundred soldiers and six hundred Indians, was marching by land along the rough trail on the western side of the lake ; the rest of the Indians had set out in their bark canoes and Montcalm had embarked with the remainder of the army and all the baggage in two hundred and fifty boats. Fort William Henry was the objective point of the hostile forces. Col. Monroe, the commander at Fort William Henry, had not more than two thousand two hundred men with which to resist this tremendous force of French and Indians. Gen. Webb, at Fort Edward, however, had four thousand soldiers. Capt. Buck and the Young Guards men thought that Webb would certainly march to the relief of Monroe, and desired to reach Fort Edward in time to accompany his advance Grievous, indeed, was destined to be their disappointment in the matter of Gen. Webb and his plans. Hostle Indians were encountered, at different times, but they were in small parties and melted away in the
110 Dispatch Bearers. woods at sight of the respectable following which Buck had at his heels. "There'll be a brush before we reach Fort Edward," remarked Buck to the young captain. "The reds who have caught sight of us will carry word to some Frenchman and a little surprise will be gotten up for our benefit." George was of like opinon. In about two hours the surprise was sprung, a full hundred French and Indians appearing on the rangers' flank and endeavoring to ride them down. A running fight followed, in which three of Buck's men were slightly wounded and a dozen or more of the opposing force shot out of their saddles. The enemy had fresher horses, and Buck and his men and the Young Guardsmen might have been over whelmed by superior numbers had they not dashed full tilt into a strong party of colonials and friendly Indians, under command of Sir William Johnson. The combined forces of Buck and Johnson were hardly equal to those opposing them, but, nevertheless, a dashin g charge was made and the French and their
Dispatch Bearers. 111 allies driven far into the woods. The march to Fort Edward was th e n resumed. Johnson had hastily gathered his company on hear ing of the departure of Montcalm's army from Ticon deroga. He, also, was under the impression that Webb would hurry at once to the assistance of Fort William Henry, and was hastening to reach Fort Edward in time to march with the other troops. Toward nightfall the tired rangers under Buck and the militia and Indians under Johnson, entered the stock a de at Fort Edward, the soldiers of the garrison welcoming them with lusty cheers. Immediately after the newcomers had partaken of supper an orderly requested the immediate presence of Johnson, Buck, George and Mason at Gen. Webb's headquarters. Fully believing that this summons was for the purpose of apprising them of an early start to aid Monroe, the newcomers made haste to answer i t Webb, his hands behind his back, was pacing the confines of his room, listening with angry imp atience to the sharp words of a lar g e man, in the uniform of a militia major'who was with him.
IIS Dispatch Bearers. "It can't be possible, sir," cried the large man, vehe mently, "that you are going to do nothing On my soul, it is an outrage on humanity to let four thousand good soldiers cool their heels in this fortress while the brave Monroe is threatened with such deadly peril! It can't be, sir--" Webb turned fiercely. "You will remember, Maj. Putnam," said he, se verely, "that I am the general in command here." "Ay, sir," was the bitter retort, "there is proof enough of your generalship. Fort Henry has been two days besieged by the French and their hirelings, and Monroe is fighting against fearful odds for his life. You can hear Montcalm's cannon with the sun rise to-morrow, an' you listen. Were I commander here, nine-tenths of this garrison would be on the march within an hour." "Ah, yes,'' was the grim answer, "if the home gov ernment would but take the leading strings off you provincials you'd set the world afire. You are here t0 take orders, Putnam; not to give them." The large man was the doughty Israel Putnam,, wha
Dispatch Bearers. 113 already had made a fair name for himself and was to make an even greater. At that time he was in the thirty-ninth year of his age, as hot-blooded a patriot as ever leaped to arms in defense of his country. When Montcalm was coming over the lake, Webb was himself in the neighborhood of Fort Henry; Israel Putnam, who was on the lake with a party of rangers, discovered the movement of the French and hastened to carry the news to Webb, urging him to oppose a landing; but Webb, after enjoining secrecy on Put nam (according to report), fell back to Fort Edward. this heated talk, Johnson, Buck, George Lee and Kenward Mason had stood unnoticed in the room. Webb now turned to them and gave greeting. Armstrong and Buck knew him and he quickly learned who George and Kenward were. Webb began ques tioning George about affairs in New York, when Put nam, who had been waiting with fierce impatience, broke in bluntly upon the useless talk. "What do we care about New York, general, at this stage of proceedings? Monroe should claim our
I 14 Dispatch Bearers. every attenti o n, and what attention we give him must be immediate !" Webb waved his hand toward the speaker. Maj. Putnam, gentlemen, said he, by way of in troduction to the others. "I know the major well," said Armstrong, giving him a cordial handclasp "And so do I," said Buck. "You know the situation at Fort Henry?" queried Putnam, who was consumed with anxiety over the prospective fate of Col. Monroe. "I know that he is in terrible extremity," answered Johnson. "And the general said Putnam, sternly eying that officer, "is determined to do nothing for him." "I must first have reinforcements from Albany," put in Webb, "before I will consent to spare a man from this post." The Young Guardsmen Armstrong and Buck, were struck dumb with astonishment and dismay. They h a d been hurrying to take the field with Webb, and now he was going to do nothing I
Dispatch Bearers. "Gentlemen, said the general, after they had re mons trated as muc h as they dared, "Fort William Henry is mer e ly a pawn in this game. Suppose it is lost ? That does not mean that our cause has gone b y the board ." Such language was more than disheartening. It earned for Webb the hearty contempt of all those who heard it. Sir, said Armstrong, will you allow me to make up a body of re-enforcements from all at this post who will vo lunteer to go?" Y ou will only be throwing away your lives, ob ser ved Webb. "You cannot get through the French lines. "Will y ou allow us to attempt it?" insisted Armstrong. "An y ou will sir answered the general, tossing his han ds i m patiently; "you may do so." Put na m l e ap e d forward. I and my ran g ers are with you, Armstrong," he cried "And I spok e up George quickly.
ll6 Dispatch Bearers. "Please count me in, too," added Kenward. "Rash, headstrong men !" exclaimed the general, and turned away to seat himself at his desk. As time was pressing, Putnam, Armstrong and the rest left the general's headquarters in a body. They had hardly reached the parade ground when an orderly came running after them to call Armstrong back. He was gone for perhaps fifteen minutes and whe n he r ejoined the rest he was hot and wrathful. "What, now ?" asked Putnam. "The general has withdrawn his permission," growled Armstrong. Putnam muttered some forcible words under his breath and flung savagely away into the darkness. Armstrong turned to George. "Capt. Lee," he went on, his voice throbbing with the keen disappointment he felt, "Gen. Webb would like a further word with you and Lieut. Mason." Thereupon Armstrong also strode off into the dusk, Alonzo Buck following him. "Of all the weak, vacillating and incompetent offi-
Dispatch Bearers. 117 cers I ever heard of," muttered Kenward, "I think this Gen. Webb is the most contemptible !" Softly, lieutenant!" cautioned George. "We are not here to criticise our superiors, but to obey orders." "I'll mutiny outright, spluttered Kenward, "if he tries to make me stay at this post." "I won t mutiny," said George, "but I just won't stay, that's all. Come on, Mason. Let us see what the general wants. When the lads got back to Gen. Webb's quarters, th e y found him sitting at his desk, smoking a long pipe, known in Virginia as a "church warden." In one hand he held a sealed envelope. G e ntlemen, said he, a little dryly, "you were quick to volunte e r with Armstrong, so I suppose you are very anxi o u s to reach Fort William Henry?" "We should like to be there, sir," said George, "and do all we can to help the gallant Monroe." "The French are clo s ely investing the fortress-in fact swarming all around it ." The general watched the youths narrowl y as h e s p o ke. I have here a dis patch which must be placed in the hands of Monroe
IJ8 Dispatch Bearers. without delay. Will you volunteer for the service? It will be full of peril-so dangerous, in fact, that I have my doubts whether you succeed in getting through alive. If you do not care to take your lives in your hands, I will not take it amiss if you refuse." "We do not refuse, sir," said George. "We will carry the dispatch." "Your comrade speaks for you, Mason--" began the general, turning to the lieutenant. "He has authority, general," broke in Mason, "since he is my captain. Apart from that, however, I am eager to accompany him, and should take it ill if he left me behind." "You are brave lads," said the general, handing the envelope to George. "I wish you success, but am far from hopeful." "We will do our best, sir," returned the youn g captain. "That is all anyone can do." The youths saluted, and withdrew. As the country between Fort Edward and Fort William Henry was totally new to them, they sought some one from whom
Dispatch Bearers. 119 they could secure information. Fortune directed them to Putnam. The major knew every foot of the road, and not only described it minutely, but advised them as to the course they should take and offered two fresh Green Mountain saddlers for their use. The horses were gratefully accepted. Ned came to them as they were mounting and begged to be taken along. "Not this time, Ned," said George, kindly. "Two of us will have a hard enough time getting through the lines. Another would only make our work the more difficult." Ned began to whimper, but Putnam laid his greaf hand on his shoulder in fatherly fashion. "What the captain says is true, lad," said Putnam. "Stay here with me-I'll look after you." "But I want to fight," said Ned; "the cap'n is gain' where the fightin' is an' I want to go 'long!" "We all want to go along, for that matter,'' said the major, "but orders are orders." Bending down, he
!20 Dispatch Bearers. whispered: "If there s any fighting fear not but we shall have a taste of it. I prom is e y e that, bo y ." And while the doughty major consoled the d is ap pointed Ned George and K e nward gaIIoped out through the stockade gate and quickly lc:ist themselves in the dark ness.
CHAPTER X. CAPTURED I Although the Young Guardsmen had had a wearing day in the saddle, yet the spice of danger lightened their present work wonderfully. Fort William Henry was only fifteen miles away and a well-defined military road stretched out before the riders in the gloom of the moonless night. There was no telling when they should encounter the French outposts, nor how soon their lives would be menaced by a horde of ambushed redskins. Every faculty must be on the alert, and their flagging strength responded nobly to the call put upon it. Putnam had said that, as it neared Fort Henry, the road skirted the southernmost shore of the lake. Up to that point, he advised a slashing gallop if necessary riding down all opposition; when the lake was reached, it was his counsel that they take to the woods and grope their way onward until the fires of the French camp were sighted. After that, horses must be abandoned,
Captured! perhaps a sentry or two "taken care of," then the lads wits must help them into the beleaguered fortress. But, at the very ramparts of the fort, the greatest danger might await them-and from friends, not foes. How were Monroe s men in the dark, to distinguish them from the enemy seeking to force entrance? A mistaken shot from the garrison was to be dreaded quite as much as a purposeful bullet from the besiegers. The youths did no talking whatever, but they did much thinking, turning Putnam's advice over and over in their minds, and watching warily the black re cesses of the wood through which they raced On and on they flew, the miles rolling out from under the swift hoofs of their horses. The howl of a wolf came quivering out of the dark on their right. The hoot of an owl gave answer on the left. Was it really a wolf, or was it one redskin warning another of the coming of two of the hated English? And had that other voiced the owl cry to show that he understood and was prepared? These were Indian tactics with which the youths were entirely familiar. So perfect were the sounds
Captured! I'.lJ that the riders could not tell whether they were human or not; all they could do was to grit their teeth, bend lower over the saddle and urge their horses to greater speed. They had gone far without interference-much farther than they had thought possible. Every mo ment they were expecting an attempt to stop or to over haul them. Their swords they had left at Fort Ed ward, but both of them had a pistol in each hand, cocked and ready; and in each lad's belt was a long dirk, furnished by some of Putnam's men. Suddenly, two forms seemed to start out of the very ground, a few yards ahead of them. "Qui vive?" shrilled a voice, giving the French equivalent for "Who goes there?" A crack of pistols was the only answer, George and Kenward both launching a bullet. One form pitched forward; the other gave a resonant yell that echoed and re-echoed through the woods, planted himself firmly and raised his rifle. The Frenchman's fusee missed fire, its muzzle a yard from the young captain's breast. Another mo-
Captured! ment and the man was beaten down by the horses' hoofs. "That was close, captain !" muttered Kenward. "A miss is as good as a mile," returned George. They're forming ahead of us!" he added, his voice sharp. "I can hear them. Turn out of the road, Ken ward!" "No use, captain," returned Mason, through his teeth. "They' re on both sides of the road. Can t you hear them there, too?" "Then it's neck or nothing, comrade! We'll keep to the road-a dash may carry us safely through!" They bent down until they almost laid along their horses' necks. A minute later a number of flames flashed out of the night and into it again ; a rumbk of firelocks followed. Bullets whistled like so angry bees, but George came safely through it and was riding onward unscathed. A cry from behind smote on his ears. "My horse is down, captain I But don't stop! Ride on I Ride on, I tell you!"
Captured! It was useless for the lieutenant to give such coun sel to his captain. Gen. Webb's dispatches were un doubtedly of great importance, but of not as much im portance as was Kenward s life. In the hope that he could save him, George whirled back. Hardly had he turned, however, when his horse was grabbed by the bridle. He tried to use his second pistol, but it snapped and failed to explode. Then he was gripped on right and left and dragged, struggling, into the road. Although fairly swamped under his assailants, he still struggled, but it was in an attempt to get the general's letter out of his pocket and destroy it. He failed in this, and presently a soldier stepped out of the woods at the roadside and took a lighted lantern from under his cloak. George breathed more freely when he saw, in the dim light, that he and his comrade had fallen into the hands of the French and not of the Indians. There was hope for life, at least. The man with the lantern was an officer and spoke rapidly in French to the soldiers, who were holding
Captured! the Young Guardsmen on the ground. The dirks were whisked from the captives' belts and the revolvers struck from their hands. Then a hand went into George's coat and fished out the general's letter. "English, eh?" It was the officer who spoke, and as he spoke he took the letter and held the lantern so he could stare into George s face. "Diable You made ze brave attempt, m'sieu, but we were tocr-w'at you call-wide awake, eh?" The officer laughed and examined the envelope m the light of the lantern. "Mon Dieu!" he exclaimed. "I cannot read ze Eng lish. Henri !" "Oui, m'sieu le capitaine," answered one who was clinging to George. "You read ze English, eh?" "Ver' leetle, sare I spell him through, maybe." "Zen try spell him through once for me, Henri. Wait! I will open heem." M'sieu le capitaine "opened him"-that is, he tore off the end of the envelope and drew out the letter.
Captured! 117 Then Henri spelled "him" through, slowly, but very creditably. George and Kenward listened, hot with indignation and anger. The poltroon, Webb, in that dispatch, ad vised the gallant Monroe to surrender, making the best terms he could with Montcalm I Told Monroe, in cowardly terms, that it would be impossible to rein force him until more soldiers should reach Fort Edward from Albany, which was hardly within the realms of the possible. But this was not all. Webb gave a false and exaggerated account of Montcalm's strength -hoping thus to excuse his own cowardice and influ ence Monroe to yield! A wild exclamation escaped Mason. "That cowardly Webb would make us the bearers of such a dispatch I" he cried, fiercely. "I am glad we were captured, George, before ever we reached Fort Henry with such a message." George said nothing, but he felt very much as did his comrade. The French captain was laughing. "Zat ees ver' good, Henri said he. "Ze gallant
rz8 Captured! Gen. Webb see double, hey ? He make us out twice ze number zat we are. We send heem on to Col. Monroe-we send you wit' heem, Henri, and you go wit ze flag of truce in ze morning. We go now to. ze brave Montcalm; come." Before leaving, the captain gave orders as to the disposition of the two prisoners, who were taken into the woods to a cleared space, in the center of which were the dying embers of a camp fire. Here they were bound hand and foot and laid side by side. George attempted to talk to his comrade, but a rough hand was clapped over his mouth. He could not un derstand the order that accompanied the movement, but knew it must mean silence. Smothering back the words he wished to speak, the young captain lay quietly, looking upward at the stars, but straining at the cords that bound his wrists. There seemed to be no one in the immediate vicinity of him self and Kenward, although now and again a shadowy form would flit across the clearing and he could hear the regular footfalls of a sentry from some point near. Would he and Ken ward be taken to Montcalm? the
Captured! 129 youth asked himself. If escape were possible, the quicker it was attempted the more chance would there be of success. Should the captain return, and remove them to the quarters of the French general, escape would be out of the question. Although George tugged at the cords until he bruised his wrists he could not loosen them. He turned his head slightly toward Mason and, in the faint light of the dying fire, saw that his comrade was eying him. Kenward shook his head hopelessly. It was plain that he, also, had tried his bonds and had found them secure. As George turned his head again to resume his sur vey of the stars, a hand pushed from the darkness be hind and dropped gently on his face. He gave a start. That could not be the same hand that had muffled his words an hour or two before! If not same hand, whose was it? Presently he knew, and the surprise of it was dumfounding. Sh-h-h cap'n," whispered a familiar voice in his ear. "It's Ned, an' I've got a knife in my hand to cut ye free. But the Frenchies are all around us, thicker'n
130 Captured! a swarm o' bees. When ye're free, lay still till I cut the leftenant loose, then git up an' run like a couple o' deer for the lake shore. There's a boat there-we can get into it and paddle off among the rushes. Like as not we kin fool 'em! These frog-eaters ain't much to fool, anyhow." Ned had talked too much, or too loud. Something, at least, had aroused the suspicions of the sentry and he could be heard approaching. Ned withdrew his hand and slipped back. The sentry came, straining his eyes about him; stopped at George's side and looked at him, then halted close to Mason and gave him a critical survey. Apparently satisfying himself that all was as it should be, he went away and resumed his beat. Ned was so long in returning that George feared he might have found it impossible to get bac;k. But, no. After a lapse of many minutes the dusky hand was again pushed out of the shadows, and this time it held an open knife. "Now for it, cap'n !" hissed Ned in the young guardsman's ear.
CHAPTER XI. GETTING INTO THE FORT. The young captain turned his body slightly, so Nim ble Ned would have less trouble in getting at the ropes. The blade was keen, and when it had slipped through one fold of the cords it was easy for George to shake them off and free his hands and feet. "Mind what I said, cap'n cautioned Ned; "wait till I git the leftenant loose-then jump an' run-follow me." The plucky boy, whose presence ther e became more and more mysterious the longer George thought of it, writhed noiselessly to Kenward's side and releaseQ him, also. Just as the Young Guardsmen were on the point of s prin ging to their feet and darting away, the sentry came again. He still seemed disturbed and suspicious. Going to George's side, he stooped over to peer into his face. This seemed an opportune moment for the youth, and, quick as a flash, he flung his left arm about
131 Getting Into the Fort. the man's neck and took a firm grip of his throat with his right hand. The sentry was a big, muscular fellow. The choking grip about his throat prevented him from crying out, but he struggled, and to such good purpose that George was dragged erect, still clinging like a leech to his hold on the man. Both Mason and Ned rushed to the captain's aid, but before they could get near enough to help, their comrade had tripped the sentry and both of them fell. The Frenchman's head came in violent contact with a tree root, and he gasped and straightened out, his hands falling nervelessly at his sides. "He'll not bother us," whispered George. "Come on, then, cap'n," returned Ned. "Jiminy, but we'll be in a tight place if any o' the rest o' the sogers come !" "We'll be able to do a little fighting I reckon," spoke up Kenward, possessing himself of the sentry's fusee and starting after his companions as they made for the shore of the lake. Ned guided them, halting at last at the water's edge
Getting Into the Fort. 133 at a place where the flags grew thickly for some dis tance out from the shore. Here there was a small boat m oored and the three got noiselessly into it and pushed out. There were two short handled canoe oars, and Georg e took one and Ken ward the other. As yet, all wa s qui e t a s hore, and it was evident the escape had not been discov e red. But such a situation could not last long, for wh e n the sentry revived he would give an alarm. Beyond the flags the surface of the Jake was dotted with shadowy specks, gliding to and fro. These were Indians in bark canoes, keeping sharp watch for some si g ns of the English foe. To venture beyond the rushes meant capture, and wh e n G e orge and Kenward had sent the skiff midway b e tween the shore and the edge of the flags, they halt e d for a brief parley. W e're b e tween the d e vil and the deep sea, com r a des," remarked Kenward, with a low chuckle. "The Fren chies ashore and the r e ds afloat will have us bet wee n two fir e s w hen our esc a pe is discovered."
134 Getting Into the Fort. "They won't know whether we have taken to the water or to the woods," answered George. "We mustn't be long in deciding what we are going to do, captain." "We know that already, don't we? You haven t any idea of trying to put back to Fort Edward?" An impatient exclamation came from Mason. "I'd stay eternally in the hands of the Frenchics before I'd go back to that poltroon, Webb," said "I'm of the same mind, comrade," said George. "We'll do our best to get into Fort Henry. If we make it, well and good; if we don t we can only fall into the hands of the enemy again." The skiff was pointed westward and a slow and cau tious advance was begun throu g h the flags. Ned knelt at the forward end, parting the rushes as noiselessly as he could, and so assisting the paddlers. Even yet all was dark and still in the woods at the place from which the guardsmen had escaped. That point was far astern of the skiff b y now, but the lads could look back to it and if there had been undue commotion it could not have escaped them.
Getting Into the Fort. 135 "We'll have to have the Colony of Virginia strike a medal in Ned' s favor, captain," murmured Mason. "He deserves a gold medal for what he has done this night, Kenward," answered George. I didn't do it for no medal, grunted the boy. "I jest didn t want to be bottled up when there was fight in' goin' on, iO I borrowed one o' the rangers horses, about two minutes arter you left, and went arti!r ye." "How did you know we were in trouble ?" queried Kenward. "Heard the racket. Got off my horse an' let him go, then I sneaked close to where the Frenchies had ye down in the road. Seen the feller with the lantern readin' the letter he took out o' the cap'n's pocket, an' when he an' the other chap went away an' you two was dragged over to where the camp fire was, I jest laid low at the side of a log an' waited. Seemed like the time 'u'd never come for me to do somethin', there was so many o' the frog-eaters prowlin' around. By-'n'-by, though, the coast got clear an' I wriggled up dost to the cap'n. Didn't have any kind of a weppin about me except that knife-left Fort Ed-
Getting Into the Fort. ward in sich a big hurry I didn't have time to hook a musket, or a pistol. I reckon you an' the leftenant know the rest, cap n, without my tellin' ye." "How did you know about this boat?" queried George. "The log I was layin' alongside of was close to the shore an' I seen a couple of the Johnny Crepaus pad dle the skiff in an' make a landin I jest jotted the fact down in my mind an' it come ter me when I was cuttin' ye loose." "Ned, you've done excellently, as usual. You've got a knack of turing up at just the right time ." G e orge had no desire to flatter the boy-simply to give honor where honor was due. "If I'd hung back at the fort you'd 'a' been in the hands o' the Johnnies yet," observed Ned. "If we'd taken you with us, lad," said Kenward, "we'd all three have been in the hands of the Johnnies. For once it was a good thing for us that you disregarded orders." "But don t make a practice of doing it," put m
Getting Into the Fort. 137 George, "or one of the fine days you'll find yourself the cer.tral figure in a drum-head court-martial." "The captain is right, Ned," began Kenward; "it's a bad thing--" Sh-h-h I" muttered Ned, turning from the bow. "What's the matter?" whispered George. "Lights ahead," Ned answered. "We' re close to Fort Henry." George and Kenward ceased paddling and took stock of the shore, ahead and to the left. A large cove was before them, flanked with a morass. Beyond that was a dock, with boats, and back of the dock, so close to the shore and on ground so low that it seemed to be resting on the water, was the fort. The walls of the fort were low, and bastions arose at the four corners. Very little could be made out of it, for the lights Ned had seen had not come from the fort, but from the camps of the besiegers, on the right and in the rear. Boats of the enemy were patrolling the lake, very close to the dock. "If we get in," muttered Kenward, "we'll have to do
138 Getting Into the Fort. some fine work if we esca pe those boats that are standing guard off the fort." "That swamp makes landing impossible anywhere this side of the dock, said George. "We'll have to sneak in to the dock and then make a run for the fort, trusting the garrison to help us in." "The darkness'll help us, cap'n," interjected Ned. "It will screen from the Frenchmen," answered George "but it will likewise hide us from our friends in the fort. We'll be between the fires of friend and foe, but that's a chance we've got to ta.ke. Push on, Kenward. The quicker we make the attempt and get it over with the better." The youths fell to their paddling, once more, and presently shot out of the rushes into the clear water off the dock. "Now, then," hissed George, "alongside with herquick !" As they threw their strength into their paddles a cano e darted around the end of the dock. There were four in the canoe, but whether Indians or French, the youths could not tell and had no time to investigate.
Getting Into the Fort. 139 At first, those in the canoe must have thought the skiff contained friends, for no hostile move was made. "Drive ahead, full tilt!" muttered George, and he and Kenward strained at the paddles. The skiff was headed directly for the canoe, and the water swished and gurgled about the bow as it cut the waves. In a moment those aboard the canoe realized that the skiff was bent on running them down. That could only mean, of course, that the skiff contained enemies. Two of the canoeists took to the paddles desperately, the other two raised their fusees. Ned dove down and gathered up the musket that Kenward had taken from the sentry, and the three pieces echoed out almost as one. A bullet passed through the young captain's hat, but no material damage was done to those in the skiff. One of the canoeists dropped his fusee and, the next instant, the bow of the skiff smashed into the bark sides of the canoe, sinking it in a twinkling. While the canoe's passengers struggled in the water, the guardsmen drove the skiff to the dock side, leaped
Getting Into the Fort. out and rushed for the gate of the stockade. Other boats on the lake, attracted by the firing, were darting shoreward in a swarm. But the firing had been heard by the garrison. "Who comes?" cried a stern voice from the wall. "Friends I" shouted George. "We have come from Fort Edward-let us in-quick !" Instantly the gate was thrown open and strong arms reached out, caught the breathless lads and hauled them into temporary safety.
CHAPTER XII. FORT WILLIAM HEN1,_ George and his friends found themselves surrounded by a group of roughly-clad, determined-looking men. A brief silence followed their entrance, and then a strapping fellow, in rifle dress, stepped to the front. "Who are you ?" he asked, scrutinizing the three guardsmen as sharply as the gloom would allow. "Capt. George Lee, Lieut. Kenward Mason 'tlnd Private Ned Halpine, of the Virginia Guards," answered George. "Of the Virginia Guards !" echoed the tall man. "Faith, I've heard of them. What do you here, so far from Virginia?" "We have come to help you stand off the French." A murmur of applause rippled through the ranks of the bystanders. "You are but three," said the tall man, "when we should have had three thousand. You come from Fort Edward, you said?"
Fort William Henry. "Yes." "And where is the re-enforcement we are expecting from there ?" The lads were silent for a space. "Where is Col. Monroe?" asked George, finally. "I am Col. Monroe," answered the tall man. "May we speak with you privately?" "Come this way." Monroe turned and led the youths to his official quar ters Here a candle was burning dimly. Deep quiet prevailed in the fort, only the ceaseless tramp of sent i nels being heard. Onc e closeted with the colonel, the lads told of re cent proceedings at Fort Edward; how Putnam, Armstrong and Buck had endeavored to persuade the timid Webb to send rescuers to the gallant garrison, and how Webb had curtly refused; lastl y, they told of Webb's dispa tch, advising surrender, and how they had been captured, the dispatch taken and had finally escaped and reached the fort. Col. Monroe heard the dread news standing A
Fort William Henry. fierce look crossed his bearded face and he flung up his clinched hands despairingly. "It can't be that Webb means that," he said, finally. "He sent that dispatch knowing that you would be captured and that it would fall into the hands of the enemy. In that way, he hopes to catch the French men napping and, when he does come, take them by surprise. Webb can't abandon us to our fate God of heaven, he must know how sorely we are pressed, and he can't have the heart to deny us aid! He will come, Capt. Lee; this dispatch of his was only a ruse. "You lads have done nobly, and will be of great aid to me. We are somewhat crowded here, but you will take soldiers' luck, I am sure, and make all necessary allowances. My quarters are at your service." As he spoke, the colonel threw open a door and led the way into another room, lighting his guests with the candle. There was one bunk, and the floor was literally covered with blankets and skins. "The floor will answer for us, colonel," said George, cheerfully; "we will leave the bunk for you."
144 Fort William Henry. "The bunk is yours, Capt. Lee," insisted the colo nel. "I have no use for it this night." But, when he withdrew, the lads dropped to the floor, utterly worn out by the exciting events of the day and night. Before they dropped off to sleep, which was almost immediately, Kenward observed to George: "Monroe is mistaken in Webb, captain. That dis patch was not a ruse ; Webb does not intend to come to Monroe's aid." "No," answered George, sadly, "but let the brave colonel think so, if he will. Better a fight to the bitter end here in the fort than a surrender." "Yes, captain," said Kenward; "death before sur render." Thereupon they fell asleep. The roar of cannon aroused them, next morning, and when they went out and reported .to Col. Monroe, he sent them to mess with his other officers. There plenty of provisions m the fortressstores enough to last five thousand men for six months-and the garrison was well fed. After break fast George and Kenward went out to get an under-
Fort William Henry. standing of the situation confronting Monroe, leaving Ned to drift away and follow his own devices. The land immediately contiguous to the fort had been cleared and planted as a garden by the garrison. To the east was the morass, already referred to ; on other sides the fortress was protected by a ditch. Off to the southeast was an elevation, the top of which commanded the fort. George's quick eye took in the possibilities of that hill. The fort should have been built there, and not on the low ground where it was. On the top of the c::!inence were intrenchments where, until the coming of the besiegers, about one thousand seven hundred men had been posted. The arrival of the French and their red allies, sent the men from these intrenchments into the fort. As has previously been noted, Montcalm's seven thousand odd troops, French and Indians, had ad v a nced upon Fort Henry from Ticonderoga by land and water. Montcalm, coming by lake, arrived in sight of three fires kindled in a triangle, marking the camp of De Levis, who had led the land forces.
Fort William Henry. A halt was called a council held and a place of land ing select ed. During the night of the landing, two canoes surprised two English boats, which wer e out on the lake, and a fierce fight followed. The Nipis sings, who were in the canoes, lost a great chiefnot Aouschik, however-and all the English save two were slaughtered The following morning, August 2d, the Indians rushed to the attack in their canoes, and it was then that the English abandoned their outlying barracks and flocked to the fort. De Levis burned the barracks, chased away the horses and cattle and slew a foraging party whom he surprised in the woods. Montcalm had landed a mile and a half northwest of the fort, and advanced in three columns. A detach ment of Indians and Canadians, under La Corne, took a position on the road leading to Fort Edward, and it was this detachment which had captured George and Kenward. A second detachment, under De Levis, went into camp on the south of the fort; while Mont calm, with the main body of the army, held to a place at the edge of the timber, on the west shore of the
Fort William Henry. lake. The day following witnessed preparations for a siege. This was the third of August. George and Ken ward, who were attached to the personal staff of Col. Monroe, made themselves useful in the garrison's preparations to withstand the siege. They managed to find time, during this active interval, to hunt up Capt. Andrews and Sergt. Mason-tlie fathers of Bertha and Alice-and deliver the letters intrusted to their care in Albany. The brave officers had heard of the failure of the girls to reach Albany and had given them up for lost. The one thing Capt. Andrews and Sergt. Mason were living for had been to take terrible revenge for the loss they had suffered. Their joy, on learning that the girls had been safely brought to Albany, may be imagined better than de scribed. Their gratitude to George and Kenward knew no bounds. August 3d was fille d with warlike preparations, al though active ho st ilities were not commenced, except
148 Fort William Henry. for an intermittent fire from sharpshooters on either side. Quite early in this day a Frenchman, who had some command of English, advanced to the wall of the fort under a white flag. Col. Monroe showed himself at the top of the stockade. "What would you, sirrah '?" he demanded. The Henri, with whom the Young Guardsmen had already had some dealingsanswered: "I haf bring a lettair to ze brave Col. Monroe; eet is from ze gallant Gen. Webb and was coming by a messenger, last night, whom we haf intercep'. Ze lettair has been read, and ze noble Gen. Montcalm or der heem to be sent on to ze good Col. Monroe. Will you take heem ?" Monroe took "heem" and Henri retreated to safety. Dropping from the wall, Monroe removed the letter from the torn envelope and read it with lowering brow. Then he tore it in pieces and flung the scraps to the ground, grinding them under heel. On the morning of the fourth, a number of French
Fort William Henry. officers the fort, also carrying a white flag. Col. Monroe, Capt. Andrews, George and Kenward went out of the gates to meet the party. One of the Frenchmen, in very good English, called upon Monroe to surrender, intimating that in case the garrison should resist, and the fort finally be taken by siege, Gen. Montcalm could not answer for the be havior of the Indians. Monroe flashed a glance about at the cordon of foes that hemmed him in, then his eyes passed along the road in the direction of Fort Edward. Drawing him self to his full height, he answered : "I shall not surrender. Go to your commander, Montcalm, and tell him that I will defend my trust to the last extremity." Brave words, those; and when he spoke them the gallant colonel still felt that aid was to come from the cringing poltroon at Fort Edward-felt, indeed, that Gen. Webb could not be inhuman enough to keep his four thousand troops inactive in such a desperate emergency. Grievous was to be Monroe's disappoint ment!
Fort William Henry. T he French continu e d to pu s h th e ir pre parations with renewed v igor They wor k ed w ith f eve ri s h h aste in constructing tre nch es, brou ght fascin es for th e ir bat t e ries and gabi o ns t o shelt e r th e men fro m the fire of the besieged garrison, and hauled the artill e ry from the landing place AU day the fourth the spit and whizz of sharpshoot ers' bullets flew about Fort Henry, clai m ing many victims; but payment was demanded in kind and the loss of the French was equal, if not great e r than that of the English. This exchange of bullets was but the prelud e of fiercer work to come. George and Kenward were everywhere about the works, cheering the men and per forming every task no matter how perilous that came to them. Nor was Nimble Ned backward in doin g his full part. A ball, either marvelously well aimed or else through accident, cut the lanyard that held th e flag to the staff. Ned stood near and without an in stant's hesitation sprang to the top of the wall cau g ht the flag as it fluttered down, then climb e d the staff, spliced the lanyard and slid back to safe t y Bullets
Fort William Henry. had been fairly rained at him, but, as by a miracle, he remained untouched. Cheer upon cheer greeted the heroic act. Col. Mon' roe took the boy by the hand and, in the presence of the garrison, complimented him for his bravery. After that, the soldiers took him on their shoulders and car ried him around the inclosure. From that on, Nimble Ned had his own fusee and ammunition, and was given post on the danger side of the walls. The fifth dawned as hopelessly as the fourth. There were no signs of relief coming from the direction of Fort Edward, and Monroe's heart grew heavier and heavier. Could Webb really have been in earnest in sending that cowardly dispatch? In the afternoon of this day, George and Ned were standing by the west wall, looking toward the toiling legions of Montcalm. Suddenly Ned straightened up from the porthole and gave a startled look at George. "What ails thee, lad?" queried George. "Aouschik is over there, cap'n !" exclaimed the boy. George caught the musket out of Ned's hand and peered through the porthole. Ned was right. The
Fort William Henry. wily chieftain, from behind a tree, was loading and firing at the men in the fort. Watching his opportunity, George thrust the gun through the porthole and pulled trigger after long and careful aim. A howl of pain came from Aouschik and he dropped his weapon and caught at his left arm. Another moment and he had fled deeper into the woods. "I gave him a token of my regard, anyway re marked George, grimly. Monroe had used his big guns but sparingly, so far, his ammunition for them running low. Kenward served one of the pieces and did much effective work with it in harrassing the French in their siege prepara tions. On the morning of the sixth the French artillery opened, smashed timbers in one wall and sent splinters flying. Two men were killed and three wounded, George himself barely escaping. From that on till sunset the bellow of the French guns was almost con tinuous, and Monroe began serving his cannon as well as his limited supply of ammunition would permit. The Indians who h ad seen but little of artillery prac-
Fort William Henry. 153 tice, w e re ov e rcome with joy at the thunder of the big guns cutting weird antics and dancing like fiends. Ste adily and persistently the French brought their trench es near e r the fort, the artillery fire assisting their operat i ons. The sharpshooters were so close at last, that the y s creened themselves in the zigzags of the fortress wall. Early in the afternoon of the seventh the gun Ken ward was serving burst and killed or maimed a dozen of the garrison. Mason himself fell begrimed with powder and covered from head to foot with the sand that had gone spouting into the air. K e n w ard shouted George, as he and Ned both leaped to their comrade's side. "All ri ght, captain," answered K
Fort William Henry. for the awful strain was telling upon him, "but our own guns must turn against us What is it, Mason?" Kenward, his left arm bound, clad only in shoes, trousers and shirt, was in front of the colonel, saluting. "I want another gun, sir-a gun that's not quite so cranky." "Go to the hospital, man !" cried the colonel. "Never, until I'm carried there." Monroe stared at him a moment with kindling eyes "Take that piece on the east wall," he answered, pointing. "The gunner has just been killed by a sharp shooter." Kenward sprang to the piece with alacrity. "Lee," remarked Monroe, turning to the young cap tain, "if there were a few men like you and your com rades at Fort Edward, I should not be waiting long for aid." "That you would not, colonel !" cried George. "But Webb is all powerful there. We are from Virginia and came to volunteer with you, not with him." The walls of the fort were rapidly giving way under the terrific bombardment of the French, and George,
Fort William Henry. 155 with a picked body of men, set about making rep a irs. It was the most perilous work that could be done, for the l a borers were constantly exposed to the raking vol leys of the hostile riflemen. Three of the force were killed outright before they had been ten minutes on the wall. George caught an ax from the hands of one of the fallen and plunged into the work. "Come back, Lee!" roared Col. Monroe. 'Tis use less, lad I" And then George came back-falling head first from the wall into Ned's arms, blood covering his face from a wound in the forehead. Kenward saw the miiohap and fled to Ned's side. "George I" he shouted. The young captain roused himself, tore a from his neck and bound it about his forehead "A Kenward," said he; "the ball simply grazed my skull. Go back to your piece, lad--every shot must count George had demonstrated that any attempt to repair the walls would be useless, and they were giving way
Fort William Henry. in a dozen places. Not only that, but the garrison was falling on every side under a perfect hail of bull ets "Surely," said Monroe," they must hear this at Fort Edward-surely Webb can t hang back now and allow us all to be murdered !" "He will not come, colonel said George; "I have felt certain of that from the first." "But Putnam is there-as brave a man as ever stepped-and Armstrong--" "They have little more than a corporal 's guard of their own men, and Webb will not allow any others to come with them." Monroe turned away with a helpless groan. I can't surrender!" he muttered. "My God! think what it would mean for the cause." Another night passed and the fateful ninth of August dawned. Monroe himself was wounded. His ammunition was nearly gone, hundreds of his men were killed and wounded, and the pounding of Montcalm's relentl ess cannon through great gaps torn in the walls, were bringing down fresh victims by the dozens.
Fort William Henry. 157 Monroe's face was gray and drawn with mental agony. Throwing his hands to his face he turned from the bloody scene to the fort inclosure. "I can't stand this, I can't stand it!" he groaned. "Oh, Webb, Webb! What treachery is this that allows my men to be slaughtered like rats in a trap, with you and your four thousand only fifteen miles away I" He stood swaying for a moment, then staggered against the carriage of a dismantled six-pounder. "Capt. Ma' son !" he called. "Yes, colonel," answered the captain, drawing closer. "Put out the flag. This frightf\tl carnage must cease." The captain clinched his teeth, saluted and turned away. Five minutes later the white flag was hung out and Fort William Henry had surrendered! Never had fortress been more gallantly defended in the face of overwhelming odds; nor had there been call for the sacrifice, had another commander been in charge at Fort Edward.
' CHAPTER XIII. TREACHERY OF THE RED FOE. In arranging terms of capitulation, Montcalm sum moned the Indian chief to council. Well he knew the craftiness and love of blood inherent in the savages, and from the first the French commander was fearful of what his red allies might do. He called them to the council, hoping to make the terms binding upon them. The garrison it was agreed, were to be accorded all the honors of war ; they were to march out with their private belongings, but the fort, the intrenched camp, the artillery provisions and warlike stores were to be come the property of his most Chri s t i an maj e sty, the k i n g of the French The ga rrison and oth e r troops it was dema nd e d should n o t se r v e against the French for a p er i o d of e i g hte e n m on ths. George and Ken w ard accompa ni e d the s tricken Monroe t o th e c o un cil. For themse l ves, the Young G u a rdsme n d emu r re d a ga i nst th e exac ti o n of a parole.
Treachery of the Red Foe. 159 Monroe spoke in support of their contention, saymg they were of the South and not properly belonging to the post. Montcalm would not render decision in the case of the youths, but showed no disposition to let their claims block the terms of surrender. They gave their parole for a few days, and meantime the French general would come to a decision regarding them. Afterward, Montcalm had a scheme of exchange to propose. Many French prisoners had been taken by the English, and all prisoners so taken were to be de livered at Fort Carillon within three months. Receipts were to be given by the French officers to whom they were surrendered, and a corresponding number of troops captured at Fort Henry were to be released from their engagement not to serve against the French. Inasmuch as this would prevent himself and his two comrades from taking further part in the war for three months, George refused to become a party to the trans action. The young Southerners had shown so much bravery and activity in defense of the fort that their actions
160 Treachery of the Red Foe. had been marked by the French officers. Montcalm had all the chivalry of his race and was one to admire bravery wherever shown, but he did not feel that he could exempt the Young Guardsmen from the general term s of the capitulation. The most he could promise was to accept their parole for a few days and take the matter under advisement. So it chanced that George, Kenward and Ned marched out with the survivors of the garrison and re tired to the intrenched camp on the hill. The sick and wounded, who were to be left under Montcalm and properly cared for and returned when recovered, were removed to the French commander's camp. As an evi dence of their admiration for Monroe's gallant defense of his post, Montcalm allowed the English "one piece of cannon, a s ix-pounder which, if necessity arose, they could use in their own defense. It was a dreary night which the English passed in the intrenched camp on the hillcrest. Below them they could see the French flag flying above their torn and dilapidated fort, and in the moonlight the toiling forms of soldiers could be marked collecting the stores
Treachery of the Red Foe. 161 and trundling away the cannon that were still left in fair condition. The Indian allies of the conquerors were passing the hours in wild carouse, celebrating their part in the joint victory over the hated English. "I didn't look for such an ending as this captain," said Kenward to his comrade, as they stood together on the hilltop, watching and listening to all that went on around them. "Fortunes of war, Kenward," sighed George "Hu man beings could do no more than Monroe and his garrison accomplished. The blame for the surrender will not lie with Monroe, but with Webb." "History will render that verdict, I am sure," said Mason. Early the next morning the English, under an escort of French troopers marched out of their camp and struck into the Fort Edward road, carrying their anns and baggage. The rage and cupidity of the savages were excited to an intense pitch. They had joined forces with Mont-
162 Treachery of the Red Foe. calm in the hope of securing plunder and scalps, and to be denied both, at this time, put them in ugly mood. "The reds are going to make trouble, captain," said Kenward, as he and George and Ned marched past a group of warriors, who scowled at them fiercely. One of the warriors, his arm bandaged to the elbow, rushed away from the group, and, with a snarl of fury, struck at the young captain with his uninjured hand. Evading the blow, George returned it to such good pur pose that the buck fell sprawling. It was the chief, Aouschik, still smarting under the stinging defeat which George and his Young Guards men had visited upon him far away to the south. "If I had had a sword," growled Kenward, "I'd have passed it through the red fiend." The hearty use George had made of his fist aroused the other Indians, and had not one of the escort inter fered, a general skirmish would have taken place then and there. As it was, the awful catastrophe which was to befall the troops on their march was merely post poned for a few brief minutes. At a spot favorable for their fiendish work, and only
Treachery of the Red Foe. 163 a short distance from the intrenched camp where the weary captives had sp ent the night, the gathered sav ages fell upon the luckless English from all sides. War whoops echoed and re-echoed through the for est, every covert and tree trunk gave up its lurking sav age, and with one accord they hurled themselves upon the defenseless soldiers with knife and tomahawk. Almost before he could realize the attack had been made, George and his comrades were at hand-to-hand combat with Aouschik and his Nipissings. The escort attempted frantically to beat off the red monsters with the butts of their guns, and officers ran among the Indians begging and threatening, but to no avail. Montcalm himself-he who had released this savage force-found he could not stem the bloodthirsty tide. He flung himself in among the reeking savages, at im minent peril of his life and besought them to kill him, but to spare the prisoners who were under his pro tection. De Levis seconded his efforts with frantic disregard for his own safety ; but the efforts of both:
164 Treachery of the Red Foe. these officers were in vain. The looting and the slaughter went on, the savages frenzied and relentless. Shoulder to shoulder the three Young Guardsmen met the onslaught of the Nipissings, who appeared to have singled them out for their especial vengeance. They would have been overborne and slain but for the French officer, Rigaud de Vaudreuil. With drawn sword, De Vaudreuil hurled himself in between the savages and the three youths. "They will kill you !" he cried, in English. "Here, defend yourselves I" He hurled his sword to George, and to Kenward and Ned he gave his pistols. George had little hope of escaping alive, even with these weapons; the one thought of all three of the youths was to sell their lives as dearly as possible. Aouschik, singing his war song and waving his tom ahawk with his uninjured hand, sprang at George like a wild cat. As the tomahawk left the chief's hand, the young captain threw himself forward. The chief's weapon missed its mark, but George's did not. The
Treachery of the Red Foe. 165 point of his sword pierced the redskin 's heart and he fell backward. Wrenching the blade free, the young Virginian swept it about him with such lusty vigor that the savages, appalled by the death of their leader, gave ground. "Fly, comrades! shouted George. "Now is our chance!" They dashed into the woods straightway, plunging and stumbling through the brush, straining every nerve to place as far as possible behind them the horrid spectacle of the massacre. They were pursued, but, in some manner, they suc ceeded in evading those that followed until they en countered a scouting party from Fort Edward. Putnam and Armstrong, with a few of their rangers, comprised the party, and they covered the retreat of George and his friends and gathered up a number more who were flying in the direction of the other post. It was many hours b e fore the Young Guardsmen suc ceeded in reaching the sheltering walls of the fortress,
1 66 Treachery of the Red Foe. and they were the first to bring the awful details of savage treachery. Gen. Webb was not so much horrified by the results of his own timidity and incompetence as he was alarmed for the safety of his post. Would the victori ous Montcalm follow up his grewsome success by an attack on Fort Edward? Webb sent out a frantic call for help, and it was George and his comrades who carried the call to Albany, on the following day, rid ing like the wind and sparing neither whip nor spur-. Before they left Fort Edward some six hundred of the ill-fated troops had reached that point. Twelve or fifteen hundred had been taken captive by the Indians and many were killed. Montcalm succeeded in releasing the prisoners, held by the Indians in the neighborhood of his camp, and sent them to Webb under a powerful escort. The news of the capture of Fort Henry, and of the massacre by the Indians carried to Albany by the three guardsmen, was sent by swift expresses to every part of the colonies. Militia were immediately sent from Massachusetts and Connecticut, to the support of
Treachery of the Red Foe. 167 Webb, but there was no need of their services so far as the victorious French were concerned. After razing Fort William Henry to the ground and destroying all the English vessels on the lake, the captured stores were loaded for transportation and the French departed without seeking to follow up their advantage.
CHAPTER XIV. ALBANY. The Young Guardsmen remained two weeks in Al bany. It had not been their intention to halt there for a longer time than was necessary to recoup themselves after their trying ordeal at Fort William Henry, but Kenward s wounded arm took an alarming turn for the worse and they had to remain in the town in order that it might have medical attention. Owing to the circumstances of the case the arm had been very inadequately attended to at the fort. Caused by a bit of flying iron, as it was, symptoms of blood poisoning set in and for several days it was thought that the brave young officer would have to have the arm amputated. The doctor, however, managed to save the member, but it was necessary for Kenward to rest out the fort night before he could gather sufficient strength to pro ceed on his journey. Naturally his two comrades remained with him.
Albany. And naturally, also, th e home of Capt Andrews was thrown hospitably op e n to the young Virgini a ns, Bertha constituting herself the lieutenant's nurse. Under such conditions Kenward could hardly fail to improve Alice Mason was very often at her cousin s home, and the time pass e d pl e asantly enough, despite Capt. Lee s impatience to be off to Williamsburg. The youths were call e d on to repeat the story of their adventures in the Lake George country again ancf again. The girl s 11ever tired of hearing the stirring details, and with Kenward to add a word now and then about George's work, and Geor g e to supplement Kenward's account in like manner, Bertha and Alice se cured a very lucid idea of what actually took place. The one point on which the youths congratulated themselves most deeply was the slaying of Aouschik. No more would he harry the English border, bringing death to the colonists and destruction to their homes. His evil career had been brought to a close. "War is a terrible thing!" said Bertha, with a shudder. "It is terrible at all times, said Kenward, "but it is
170 Albany. horrible beyond description when savages are led to take part in it. If French and English alone were at war with each other, the terrible massacre on the road to Fort Edward could never have happened Capt. Andrews and Sergt. Mason had been among the six hundred who had escaped the savages and ef fected a safe retreat to Gen. Webb's post. The youths had brought this piece of good news to the girls; and it was something to make two hearts joyful where so many were rendered sad and desolate. "Did the French not do anything to stop the mas sacre?" asked Alice, her fair face convulsed with the horror of the tragic tale. "They did all they could answered George "but that fact does not free them of responsibility. They had done all they could to excite the fury of the sav ages by appealing to their lowest passions, and they could not control it when their own purpo s es were ac complished." "Those who sow the wind must reap the whirlwind," murmured Bertha.
Albany. "It seems to be the English who reaped the whirl wind, in this case," said Kenward. "If it comes to placing the blame," spoke up George, "the loss of Fort Henry and all the misfortunes that followed in the train of it can be laid at the doors of an officer on our own side." "Ay, George," said Kenward, with a bitter sigh. "Gen. Webb will have much to account for at the final t
172 Albany. "We are Washington's men, Miss Andrews," said George; "then, too, being Virginians, Gov. Dinwid die has some authority over us." "And you are eager to get back to your Virginia and to your Col. Washington," quoth Mistress Bertha, with a toss of the head. "I can see that very plainly." At this point of the conversation, Nimble Ned thrust his grinning face in at the door. The restless Ned was abroad from dawn till dark, haunting the coach stations, frequenting taverns where soldiers resortedgoing every place, in fact, where it would be possible to pick up a scrap of information, or a rumor, con nected with the war. "What now, boy?" cried George. "News, cap'n Powerful news, too!" "What is it?" asked George, interested at once. "Mayhap ye don't want to be interrupted cap'n ?" "We have already been interrupted, you young jackanapes," retorted Kenward. "Out with thy intelli gence, boy, and quick about it! Can't you see we're on tenterhooks ?"
Albany. 173 "Of course ," dalli e d Ned, impishly, if ye don't want to b e interrupted the new s 'll keep. George sprang at him, caught him by the collar and hauled hi m in t o the room. "There," said he, pushing Ned into a chair, of all the aggravating mortals I ever saw, if you will you can be the worst. Now, the news." "It's about Lord Loudon, simpered Ned. "The gen ral that's like St. George on the tavern signsallus on horseback an' never rides on." That was one of Franklin's sayings in which Nimble Ned took particular reli s h. "Louisburg has fallen !" cried Ken ward, excitedly. "Huzzah!" cheered George. "Not so fast, cap'n, not so fast," cautioned Ned. "Louisbur g hasn't fallen as anybody knows on. An attack on the plac e wa sn't made at all." "Wasn't made?" echoed both lads, gazing at each other in bewild e rment. "So the talk runs around town," proceeded Ned. "The French had nineteen ships an' the English only
Albany. seventeen, so the English sailed for New York an' never gave battle." "It can't be possible!" cried George, catching up his hat. "That's what everybody is sayin'," protested Ned. "Loudon has put off the capture of Louisburg until another summer. He has left some of his sojers at Halifax, but is bringin' the heft of 'em back to New York." All New England, and, in fact, all the rest of the colonies, had taken especial interest in the campaign against Louisburg. New England troops, by their al most unaided prowess had taken this post from the French in 1745, which achievement was a source of justifiable pride to them; consequently they had been intensely disappointed when the fortress had been turned back to France by treaty In addition to this, the fact that Louisburg, when held by the French was a harbor of refuge for the cruisers that preyed upon colonial ves s els, made the project of retaking it very popular in New England, and the other provinces. George, in order to make assurance doubly sure, left
Albany. 175 the house to find out about the matter for himself. He returned with the intelligence that what Ned had said was only too true. Not a blow had been struck against Louisburg, for Holbourne, the English admiral, was of a piece with Loudon, the commander-in-chief. It was of Hol bourne that Horace Walpole had written in February of that year, to this effect: "I do not augur very well of the ensuing summer; a detachment is going to America under a commander whom a child might outwit or terrify with a popgun." This depressing news augmented the impatience of the guardsmen to get back to Virginia and under their old and well-beloved commander. The end of the fort night found Kenward perfectly able to travel, and after they had bidden adieu to the young ladies, and to the other friends they had made in Albany, they took coach for New York. If the parting between Kenward and Bertha was a sad one at the time he had left Albany for the Lake George country, it was infinitely more so now when
Albany. so many leagues were to separate them, with no telling when they should ever meet again. George sought to cheer his comrade, but the latter rebuffed him with the words : "It's all well enough for you, captain. Every foot of road carries you nearer to the fair Arny, who, I warrant, you will find all tears and sorrow for the way she treated you when you left the capital. With me-well, it is different." And Kenward relapsed into moody silence.
CHAPTER XV. CONCLUSION. It is needless to dwell upon the long journey taken by the comrades-in-arms in returning to their own colony. They traveled by coach the entire distance, passing through Philadelphia and Annapolis, and on to Williamsburg. Lord Loudon was in New York when they reached there, busying himself with another of his chimeras. This particular dream had to do with an encampment on Long Island which, in some manner-he could not tell how-was to protect the country. However, as George and his comrades had proved to their own satisfaction, Lord Loudon was but one of the many incompetents whom the mother country had sent to the colonies to wage war against the French. In Philadelphia the comrades halted for a few days, while George visited an uncle who resided in the town and also renewed old acquaintance with some friends
178 Conclusion. who had particular claim on his good will. One of these friends was a Quaker whom he referred to as Friend Tobias. Nimble Ned also knew Friend Tobias, and could have told a pretty tale about certain things which had happened in and around Friend Tobias' home, near Dock Creek. These matters, however, have been set forth in an other chronicle entitled "Captain Hotspur," and need not be mentioned further in this place. When, at last, the youthful guardsmen were set down in Williamsburg, the gay old capital had never seemed so dear nor so beautiful to them. Ned ranged the town like a hound out of leash and George and Kenward, after ridding themselves of the stains of travel and donning suitable garments, at once called at the Stadt House to yay their respects to his excellency, the governor. The governor embraced his nephew affectionately and shook Kenward warmly by the hand. "I cannot begin to tell what a shock you young rogues have given us all," said he, when the greetings were over.
Conclusion. 179 Shock, sir?" qu e r ie d George, b e wildered A y, lad. When w e h eard of th e fall of Fort Will iam Henry, and of the gallant part you had played in i ts d e fense, by gad, we were all proud of you ; but the accoun t s of the mass acre s e em e d to include yourselves. I was which and t'oth e r about s e tting the Stadt House flag at half-mast when the Gazette told of your arrival in Albany bearing full p a rticulars of the great mis fortune to our arms. Of course lad"-and here the governor s eyes twinkled-"you could not have been massacred if you rode, at a later period, into the town of Albany. So this circumstantial evidence kept the flag flying at the peak of the staff. But, ah there was a pair of bright eyes in this town which shed not a few tears over your supposed untimely fate. Can'st guess whose eyes those were, George?" "I believe so sir," answered the young captain "Then lose no time in calling on the fair dams e l and reli e ving her mind of furth e r unnecessar y worry. I want to hear more of your adventur es, but I w ill d e tain Mason to t e ll me o f them. You are excused, sir.
180 Conclusion. I shall see you again-nay, several times, I hope--ere you rejoin your company at Winchester The youth left at once for the Randolph man s ion. Amy met him at the door and sobbed her regret over their late misunderstanding with her fair head buried in the captain's shoulder. It was very sentimental, of course. Such things are quite apt to be. Yet it was all very dear to the young lover. Some one has said that the "making up" of lovers is more than worth the quarrel that leads to it. For some time Mistress Joanna kept herself dis creetly in the background. There was much that Amy and George wished to say to each other that was not for her ears-nor for the reader's ears, either. So it may well be left out of this narrative. George carried a scar on his forehead, where a French bullet had come very near to entitling him to his six feet of earth in the north country. That scar was the cause of much commiseration on Amy's part. "I was very wicked and foolish dear said she "to act as I did just before you left Williamsburg. But I
Conclusion. .. -I did not know you were going awaY: You shoul!il have told me! I came here to tell you, Amy," he answered, smil ing, "but you had gone to a ball with a young man-of warsman. The only on e I saw was Joanna." "Why did you not tell her you were to leave the fol lowing day?" persisted Amy. "I thought I would retaliate a little," acknowledged George, and felt as though he had acted like a brute. "You had your revenge, sir, if that was what you were after," and Amy's lip trembled. He her impulsively in his arms once more, and was kissing the full, red lips when Joanna hurried in, laughing merrily "Oh, ho Capt. Lee !" cried Joanna, as the blushing Amy withdrew from her lover's embrace, "is that what you learned along with your soldiering in the North?" "I did not have to learn that in the North Joanna." answered George; "some one in Williamsburg taught me that. Now!" And before Joanna could escape he had caught bet about the waist and taken tribute.
Conclusion. "That is your penalty," said George, severely, "for not announcing your entrance. Next time be more discreet." "I will, I promise you," smiled Joanna. ''What would the lieutenant say, if he knew?" "He shall know-I'll tell him as soon as I reach Winchester.'' The afternoon passed very happily for George Lee; probably not so happily for one, Kenward Mason. The lieutenant was looking to further exploits with his company, on the frontier, to soothe his distracted mind. In three days the three comrades were in the sad dle with their faces set toward Winchester. The year 1757 closed a period of disasters to the English arms in America. The French had claimed much, before war was declared-in fact, Capt. Lee had had the honor of accompanying Washington to the Ohio to remonstrate with the French over their ex travagant pretensions, a journey fraught with incred ible hardships and small success. Now, at the close
Conclusion. of this year, the French were in possession of about all they had claimed as being under the authority of the French king. Excepting a fort on the upper Tennessee the whole of the Mississippi v all e y was theirs; they w e re in un disputed control of the St. Lawrence basin and tributary waters in northeastern New York ; and, by the taking of Oswego th e y had opened a passage for troops and traffic to the W e st. Their influence with the Indians, because of the sad work at Fort William Henry, had increased. Many of the Iroquois tribes had been won to t he French standard; and the Ch e rokees heretofore faithful allies of the English, showed symptoms of alienation. The failure of Loudon and Holbourne to reduce Louisburg, left a strong French force at that point to menace Acadia. It seemed as though if no s etback were given them the French lilies might be carried victoriously info the heart of the English colonies. The Duke of Newcastle was the nominal head of the ministry in England-the ministry to which all the
Conclusion. 4iisasters atte nding the British arms was to be credited. This is the gentleman who is r epo rted to have said: "Oh, yes, yes, to be sure, Annapolis must be de fended; troops must be s e nt to Annapolis-pray, where is Annapolis? Ah! And Cape Breton-an island? Wonderful I Show it to me on the map. So it is, sure enough. My dear sir, you always bring us good news. I must go and tell the king that Cape Breton is an island." But Newcastle, although nominally the head of the ministry, was obliged to yield the management of the war to William Pitt when the latter was made Secre tary of State. "Nothing has been done," said Pitt, reviewing the pitiable showing of the army in America; "nothing at tempted. Every door is open to France." Having done a vast amount of harm, Loudon was recalled and his successor appointed vigorous meas ures were taken in other directions, all owing to the resourceful Pitt, and the outlook for the following year of the war was more encouraging. Washington and in common with him all the other
Conclusion. colonials, took heart. At last, something was to be done, for Pitt was at the helm. Nor were they disappointed. In the glory of later achievements the sting of the defeat at William Henry was drawn, even if the harrowing memory could not be effaced. And in these triumphs of the colonial arms the brave Young Guardsmen took active part. THE END.
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