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      "He paddled straight out from the shore. I didn't wait. The motor-boat was coming back."In the early morning the fort was abandoned and the retreat began. The Indians had killed all the horses and cattle, and Washington's men were so burdened with the sick and wounded, whom they were obliged to carry on their backs, that most of the baggage was perforce left behind. Even then they could march but a few miles, and then encamped to wait for wagons. The Indians 161

      [52] Chalmers, Collection of Treaties, I. 382."Are you there? ... Listen, I'll give you another chance. Open the door!"

      "But if I was his mark, why didn't he take a shot direct at me?" said Don.

      An instinct of caution occurred to him. "Oh, you mustn't take me too literally," he said laughing. "I haven't anybody to hate at present. But I have the capacity.""Sure!"

      [Pg 286]The French and their allies outnumbered their enemies fourfold, while the Outagamie and Mascoutin warriors were encumbered with more than seven hundred women and children. Their frail defences might have been carried by assault; but the loss to the assailants must needs have been great against so brave and desperate a foe, and such a mode of attack is repugnant to the Indian genius. Instead, therefore, of storming the palisaded camp, the allies beleaguered it with vindictive patience, and wore out its defenders by a fire that ceased neither day nor night. The French raised two tall scaffolds, from which they overlooked the palisade, and sent their shot into the midst of those within, who were forced, for shelter, to dig holes in the ground four or five feet deep, and ensconce themselves there. The situation was almost hopeless, but their courage did not fail. They raised twelve red English blankets on poles as battle-flags, to show that they would fight to the death, and hung others over their palisades, calling out that they wished to see the whole earth red, like them, with blood; that they had no fathers but the English, and that the other tribes had better do as they did, and turn their backs to Onontio.



      [365] These extracts are translated from copies of the original letters, in possession of the present Marquis de Montcalm.


      Among the Hurons of Michillimackinac there was a chief of high renown named Kondiaronk, or the Rat. He was in the prime of life, a redoubted warrior, and a sage counsellor. The French seem to have admired him greatly. "He is a gallant man," says La Hontan, "if ever there was one;" while Charlevoix declares that he was the ablest Indian the French ever knew in America, and that he had nothing of the savage but the name and the dress. In spite of the father's eulogy, the moral condition of the Rat savored strongly of the wigwam. He had given Denonville great trouble by his constant intrigues with the Iroquois, with whom he had once made a plot for the massacre of his neighbors, the Ottawas, under cover of a pretended treaty. [31] The French had spared no pains to gain 174 him; and he had at length been induced to declare for them, under a pledge from the governor that the war should never cease till the Iroquois were destroyed. During the summer, he raised a party of forty warriors, and came down the lakes in quest of Iroquois scalps. [32] On the way, he stopped at Fort Frontenac to hear the news, when, to his amazement, the commandant told him that deputies from Onondaga were coming in a few days to conclude peace, and that he had better go home at once.Pendleton Broome's swivel chair had come forward with a snap. He looked clownish. He was the only one really surprised by Pen's disclosure. What astonished the others was that she should have admitted it. For a fleeting instant Pen felt sorry for the little man, but she had too much on her mind for the feeling to linger. The detective was not surprised, but he had counted on dragging out the admission, and it annoyed him excessively to have it flung in his face. He affected to be consulting with his subordinates while he recovered himself.


      V1 lay the valley of the Ohio. If the English should seize it, they would sever the chain of posts, and cut French America asunder. If the French held it, and entrenched themselves well along its eastern limits, they would shut their rivals between the Alleghanies and the sea, control all the tribes of the West, and turn them, in case of war, against the English borders,a frightful and insupportable scourge.Just the same his sympathetic voice drew something out of her. For the first time she gave him her eyes freely. Wonderful dark, glowing eyes that won something of him that he never got back again. Her laughing, somber glance said as plainly as if the words had been spoken: "The winter here is Hell!" His eyes laughed back in hers, surrendering, and for an instant they were one.