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      Hurrying forward through the forest, they left the main body behind, and soon reached the end 152 of the defile. The woods were still dense on their left and front; but on their right lay a great marsh, covered with alder thickets and rank grass. Suddenly the air was filled with yells, and a rapid though distant fire was opened from the thickets and the forest. Scores of painted savages, stark naked, some armed with swords and some with hatchets, leaped screeching from their ambuscade, and rushed against the van. Almost at the same moment a burst of whoops and firing sounded in the defile behind. It was the ambushed three hundred supporting the onset of their countrymen in front; but they had made a fatal mistake. Deceived by the numbers of the vanguard, they supposed it to be the whole army, never suspecting that Denonville was close behind with sixteen hundred men. It was a surprise on both sides. So dense was the forest that the advancing battalions could see neither the enemy nor each other. Appalled by the din of whoops and firing, redoubled by the echoes of the narrow valley, the whole army was seized with something like a panic. Some of the officers, it is said, threw themselves on the ground in their fright. There were a few moments of intense bewilderment. The various corps became broken and confused, and moved hither and thither without knowing why. Denonville behaved with great courage. He ran, sword in hand, to where the uproar was greatest, ordered the drums to beat the charge, turned back the militia of Berthier who were trying to escape, and commanded them and all others whom he met to fire 153 on whatever looked like an enemy. He was bravely seconded by Callires, La Valterie, and several other officers. The Christian Iroquois fought well from the first, leaping from tree to tree, and exchanging shots and defiance with their heathen countrymen; till the Senecas, seeing themselves confronted by numbers that seemed endless, abandoned the field, after heavy loss, carrying with them many of their dead and all of their wounded. [16][142] Speech of Lieutenant-Governor Dinwiddie to the Council and Burgesses 14 Feb., 1754.

      "Nobody but the light-keeper?"The elements declared for France. On the afternoon of the day when Wolfe's army landed, a violent squall swept over the St. Lawrence, dashed the ships together, drove several ashore, and destroyed many of the flat-boats from which the troops had just disembarked. "I never saw so much distress among shipping in my whole life," writes an officer to a friend in Boston. Fortunately the storm subsided as quickly as it rose. Vaudreuil saw that the hoped-for deliverance had failed; and as the tempest had not destroyed the British fleet, he resolved to try the virtue of his fireships. "I am afraid," says Montcalm, "that they have cost us a million, and will be good for nothing after all." This remained to be seen. Vaudreuil gave the chief command of them to a naval officer named Delouche; and on the evening of the twenty-eighth, after long consultation and much debate among their respective 211

      Pitt divined the secret treaty, and soon found evidence of it. He resolved to demand at once 397

      While the plan was debated, the opportunity for accomplishing it ebbed away. It was still early when the messenger returned from Quebec; but, before Phips was ready to act, the day was on the wane and the tide was against him. He lay quietly at his moorings when, in the evening, a great shouting, mingled with the roll of drums and the sound of fifes, was heard from the Upper Town. The 270 English officers asked their prisoner, Granville, what it meant. "Ma foi, Messieurs," he replied, "you have lost the game. It is the governor of Montreal with the people from the country above. There is nothing for you now but to pack and go home." In fact, Callires had arrived with seven or eight hundred men, many of them regulars. With these were bands of coureurs de bois and other young Canadians, all full of fight, singing and whooping with martial glee as they passed the western gate and trooped down St. Louis Street. [9]

      The brunt of the war fell on the upper half of 301 the colony. The country about Montreal, and for nearly a hundred miles below it, was easily accessible to the Iroquois by the routes of Lake Champlain and the upper St. Lawrence; while below Three Rivers the settlements were tolerably safe from their incursions, and were exposed to attack solely from the English of New England, who could molest them only by sailing up from the Gulf in force. Hence the settlers remained on their farms, and followed their usual occupations, except when Frontenac drafted them for war-parties. Above Three Rivers, their condition was wholly different. A traveller passing through this part of Canada would have found the houses empty. Here and there he would have seen all the inhabitants of a parish laboring in a field together, watched by sentinels, and generally guarded by a squad of regulars. When one field was tilled, they passed to the next; and this communal process was repeated when the harvest was ripe. At night, they took refuge in the fort; that is to say, in a cluster of log cabins, surrounded by a palisade. Sometimes, when long exemption from attack had emboldened them, they ventured back to their farm-houses, an experiment always critical and sometimes fatal. Thus the people of La Chesnaye, forgetting a sharp lesson they had received a year or two before, returned to their homes in fancied security. One evening a bachelor of the parish made a visit to a neighboring widow, bringing with him his gun and a small dog. As he was taking his leave, his hostess, whose husband had 302 been killed the year before, told him that she was afraid to be left alone, and begged him to remain with her, an invitation which he accepted. Towards morning, the barking of his dog roused him; when, going out, he saw the night lighted up by the blaze of burning houses, and heard the usual firing and screeching of an Iroquois attack. He went back to his frightened companion, who also had a gun. Placing himself at a corner of the house, he told her to stand behind him. A number of Iroquois soon appeared, on which he fired at them, and, taking her gun, repeated the shot, giving her his own to load. The warriors returned his fire from a safe distance, and in the morning withdrew altogether, on which the pair emerged from their shelter, and succeeded in reaching the fort. The other inhabitants were all killed or captured. [20]"Maybe so," said Blanche somberly. "What do you know?"

      Now came the question of peace with the Iroquois, to whose mercy Frontenac was authorized to leave his western allies. He was the last man to accept such permission. Since the burning of Onondaga, the Iroquois negotiations with the western tribes had been broken off, and several fights had occurred, in which the confederates had suffered loss and been roused to vengeance. This was what Frontenac wanted, but at the same time it promised him fresh trouble; for, while he was determined to prevent the Iroquois from making peace with the allies without his authority, he was equally determined to compel them to do so with it. There must be peace, though not till he could control its conditions.

      V1 of entering it, when the guides and light horsemen in the front suddenly fell back; and the engineer, Gordon, then engaged in marking out the road, saw a man, dressed like an Indian, but wearing the gorget of an officer, bounding forward along the path. [223] He stopped when he discovered the head of the column, turned, and waved his hat. The forest behind was swarming with French and savages. At the signal of the officer, who was probably Beaujeu, they yelled the war-whoop, spread themselves to right and left, and opened a sharp fire under cover of the trees. Gage's column wheeled deliberately into line, and fired several volleys with great steadiness against the now invisible assailants. Few of them were hurt; the trees caught the shot, but the noise was deafening under the dense arches of the forest. The greater part of the Canadians, to borrow the words of Dumas, "fled shamefully, crying 'Sauve qui peut!'" [224] Volley followed volley, and at the third Beaujeu dropped dead. Gage's two cannon were now brought to bear, on which the Indians, like the Canadians, gave way in confusion, but did not, like them, abandon the field. The close scarlet ranks of the English were plainly to be seen through the trees and the smoke; they were moving forward, cheering lustily, and shouting "God save the King!" Dumas, now chief in command, thought that all was lost. "I advanced," he says, "with the assurance that comes 216


      [553] Procs de Bigot, Cadet, et autres, Mmoire pour Messire Fran?ois Bigot.V2 their work, and the families of the town fled to the country for safety. In a single day eighteen houses and the cathedral were burned by exploding shells; and fiercer and fiercer the storm of fire and iron hailed upon Quebec.


      "I intended to mend the churn," he explained, "but in Friday's Sun-paper, as you know, another correspondent undertook to refute the arguments in my letter on the Mendelian theory. And in answering him I clean forgot about the churn!" large sum of money in addition.


      "Then mind you're back in time," said Pen, leaving them. "You never can tell about the engine in our boat."