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taken her beyond the French lines in not know one word of English. The search of one whom she felt under her meaning which reached her was a dirge, protection was no longer in her. A cow- but a noble dirge; the death hymn of a ering woman with a boatload of English human being who has lived up to his casoldiers palpitated under the darkness. pacities. She felt strangely influenced, It was necessary only to steer ; both tide as by the neighborhood of some large and current carried them steadily down. angel, and at the same time the tragedy On the surface of the river, lines of dark of being alive overswept her. For one's objects followed. A fleet of the enemy's duty is never all done; or when we have transports was moving towards Quebec. accomplished it with painstaking care,
To most women country means home. we are smitten through with finding that Jeannette was tenaciously fond of the the greater things have passed us by. gray old city of Quebec, but home to The tide carried the boats near the her was to be near that Highland officer. great wall of rock. Woods made denser Her humiliation passed into the very shade on the background of night. The agony of tenderness. To go wherever cautious murmur of the speaker was cut he was going was enough. She did not short. want him to speak to her, or touch her, “Who goes there ? " came the sharp or give any sign that he knew she was challenge of a French sentry. in the world. She wanted to sit still The soldiers were silent as dead men. by his side under the negation of dark- “France !” answered Colonel Fraser ness and be satisfied. Jeannette had in the same language. never dreamed how long the hours be- “Of what regiment ?” tween turn of tide and dawn may be. “ The Queen's.” They were the principal part of her life. The sentry was satisfied. To the Queen's
Keen stars held the sky at immeasur- regiment, stationed at Cap Rouge, beable heights. There was no mist. The longed the duty of convoying provisions chill wind had swept the river clear like down to Quebec. He did not further peril a great path. Within reach of Jeannette's what he believed to be a French transhand, but hidden from her, as most of port by asking for the password. us are hidden from one another, sat one Jeannette breathed. So low had she more solitary than herself. He had not sunk that she would have used her lanher robust body. Disease and anxiety guage herself to get the Highland colohad worn him away while he was hope- nel past danger. lessly besieging Quebec. In that last hour It was fortunate for his general that before the 13th of September dawned, he had the accent and readiness of a General Wolfe was groping down river Frenchman. Again they were challenged. toward one of the most desperate milita- They could see another sentry running ry attempts in the history of the world. parallel with their course.
There was no sound but the rustle of “Provision boats,” this time answered the water, the stir of a foot as some the Highlander. “Don't make a noise. standing man shifted his weight, and the The English will hear us.” light click of metal as guns in unsteady That hint was enough, for an English hands touched barrels. A voice, modu- sloop of war lay within sound of their lating rhythm which Jeannette could not voices. understand, began to speak. General With the swift tide the boats shot Wolfe was reciting an English poem. around a headland, and here was a cove The strain upon his soul was more than in the huge precipice, clothed with sere he could bear, and he relieved it by herbage and bushes and a few trees ; those low-uttered rhymes. Jeannette did steep, with the hint of a once-used path
across it, but a little less perpendicular a woman, and because he regretted havthan the rest of the rock. No sentinel ing taken her prisoner, had the pallid was stationed at this place.
look of a victin). Her tragic black eyes The world was just beginning to come and brows, and the hairs clinging in unout of positive shadow into the indistinct- tidy threads about her haggard cheeks ness of dawn. Current and tide were so instead of curling up with the damp as strong that the boats could not be steered the Highlandman's fleece inclined to do, directly to shore, but on the alluvial strip worked an instant's compassion in him. at the base of this cove they beached But his business was not the squiring themselves with such success as they could. of angular Frenchwomen. Shots were Twenty-four men sprung out and ran to heard at the top of the rock, a trampthe ascent. Their muskets were slung ling rush, and then exulting shouts. The
. upon their backs. A humid look was
A humid look was English had taken Vergor's camp. coming upon the earth, and blurs were The hand was gone from Jeannette's over the fading stars. The climbers sep- wrist, the hand which gave her such arated, each making his own way from rapture and such pain by its firm frapoint to point of the slippery cliff, and ternal grip. Colonel Fraser leaped to swarms followed them as boat after boat the plain, and was in the midst of the discharged its load. The cove by which skirmish. Cannon spoke, like thunder he breached the stronghold of this con- rolling across one's head. A battery tinent, and which was from that day to guarded by the sentinels they had passed bear his name, cast its shadow on the was aroused, and must be silenced. The gaunt, upturned face of Wolfe. He wait- whole face of the cliff suddenly bloomed ed while the troops in whom he put his with scarlet uniforms. All the men retrust, with knotted muscles and panting maining in the boats went up as fire breasts, lifted themselves to the top. No sweeps when carried by the wind. Noorders were spoken. Wolfe had issued thing could restrain them. They smelled instructions the night before, and Eng- gunpowder and heard the noise of vicland expected every man to do his duty. tory, and would have stormed heaven at
There was not enough light to show that instant. They surrounded Jeannette how Canada was taken. Jeannette Des- without seeing her, every man looking cheneaux stepped on the sand, and the up to the heights of glory, and passed single thought which took shape in her her in fierce and panting emulation. mind was that she must scale that ascent Jeannette leaned against the rough side if the English scaled it.
of Wolfe's Cove. On the inner surface The hope of escape to her own people of her eyelids she could see again the did not animate her labor. She had no image of the Highlandman stooping to hope of any sort. She felt only present help her, his muscular legs and neck necessity, which was to climb where the showing like a young god's in the early Highland officer climbed. He was in light. There she lost him, for he forgot front of her, and took no notice of her her. The passion of women whom nauntil they reached a slippery wall where ture has made unfeminine, and who are there were no bushes. There he turned too honest to stoop to arts, is one of the and caught her by the wrist, drawing her tragedies of the world. up after him. Their faces came near to- Daylight broke reluctantly, with clouds gether in the swimming vapors of dawn. mustering from the inverted deep of He had the bright look of determination. the sky. A few drops of rain sprinkled His eyes shone. He was about to burst the British uniforms as battalions were into the man's arena of glory. The wo- formed. The battery which gave the first man, whom he drew up because she was intimation of danger to the French gen
eral, on the other side of Quebec, had chinking. A tear and a drop of scarlet been taken and silenced. Wolfe and his raced down his cheek, uniting as they officers hurried up the high plateau and dripped from his chin. chose their ground. Then the troops ad- “Have you been wounded ? " inquired vanced, marching by files, Highland bag- Jeannette. pipes screaming and droning, the earth “It is n't the wound," he answered, reverberating with a measured tread. As “but that Captain Vergor has let them they moved toward Quebec they wheeled take the heights. I heard something myto form their line of battle, in ranks three self, and tried to wake him. The pig deep, and stretched across the plain. The turned over and went to sleep again.” city was scarcely a mile away, but a ridge “Let me tie it up,” said Jeannette. of ground still hid it from sight.
“ He is shot in the heel and taken From her hiding-place in one of the prisoner. I wish he had been shot in empty houses behind Vergor's tents, the heart. He hopped out of bed and Jeannette Descheneaux watched the scar- ran away when the English fired on his let backs and the tartans of the High- tent. I have been trying to get past landers grow smaller. She could also their lines to run to General Montcalm ; see the prisoners that were taken stand- but they are everywhere,” declared the ing under guard. As for herself, she boy, his chin shaking and his breast felt that she had no longer a visible pre- swelling with grief. sence, so easy had it been for her to Jeannette turned her back on him, and move among swarms of men and escape found some linen about her person which in darkness. She never had favored her she could tear. She made a bandage for body with soft usage, but it trembled his head. It comforted her to take hold now in every part from muscular strain. of the little fellow and part his clotted She was probably cold and hungry, but hair. her poignant sensation was that she had “The skin of my head is torn,” he no friends. It did not matter to Jean- admitted, while suffering the attempted nette that history was being made before surgery. “If I had been taller, the bulher, and one of the great battles of the let might have killed me; and I would world was about to be fought. It only rather be killed than see the English. mattered that she should discern the on this rock, marching to take Quebec. Fraser plaid as far as eye could follow What will my father say? I am ashamed it. There is no more piteous thing than to look him in the face and own I slept for one human being to be overpowered in the camp of Vergor last night. The by the god in another.
Le Moynes and Repentignys never let: She sat on the ground in the unfloored enemies get past them before. And I hut, watching through broken chinking. knew that man was not keeping watch ; There was a back door as well as a front he did not set any sentry.” door, hung on wooden hinges, and she "Is it painful?" she inquired, wiping had pinned the front door as she came the bloody cut, which still welled forth in. The opening of the back door made along its channel. Jeannette turn her head, though with lit- The boy lifted his brimming eyes, and tle interest in the comer. It was a boy, answered her from his deeper hurt:with a streak of blood down his face and “I don't know what to do. I think neck, and his clothes stained by the wea- my father would make for General Montther. He had no hat on, and one of his calm's camp if he were alone and could shoes was missing. He put himself at not attack the enemy's rear; for someJeannette's side without any hesitation, thing ought to be done as quickly as and joined her watch through the broken possible.”
Jeannette bandaged his head, the rain them across the sodden ground where spattering through the broken log house Wolfe moved. The sick man had beupon them both.
come an invincible spirit. He flew along “Who brought you here?" inquired the ranks, waving his sword, the sleeve Jacques. “There was nobody in these falling away from his thin arm. The houses last night, for I searched them great soldier had thrown himself on this myself."
venture without a chance of retreat, but “I hid here before daybreak,” she every risk had been thought of and met. answered briefly.
He had a battalion guarding the landing. “But if you knew the English were
He had a force far in the rear to watch coming, why did you not give the alarm?” the motions of the French at Cap Rouge. "I was their prisoner."
By the arrangement of his front he “And where will you go now?” had taken precautions against being outShe looked towards the Plains of Abra- flanked. And he knew his army was ham and said nothing. The open chink with him to a man. But Montcalm rode showed Wolfe's six battalions of scarlet up to meet him hampered by insubordilines moving forward or pausing, and the nate confusion. ridge above them thronging with white Jeannette Descheneaux, carried along, uniforms.
with the boy, by Canadians and Indians “If you will trust yourself to me, from the English rear to the Côte Ste. mademoiselle," proposed Jacques, who Geneviève, lay dazed in the withered considered that it was not the part of grass during the greater part of the aca soldier or a gentleman to leave any tion which decided her people's hold on woman alone in this hut to take the the New World. The ground resounded chances of battle, and particularly a wo- like a drum with measured treading. The man who had bound up his head, “I blaze and crash of musketry and cannon will do my best to help you inside the blinded and deafened her; but when she French lines."
lifted her head from the shock of the The singular woman did not reply to first charge, the most instantaneous and him, but continued looking through the shameful panic that ever seized a French chink. Skirmishers were out. Puffs of army had already begun. The skirmishsmoke from cornfields and knolls showed ers in the bushes could not understand it. where Canadians and Indians hid, creep- Smoke parted, and she saw the white-anding to the flank of the enemy.
gold French general trying to drive his Jacques stooped down himself, and men back.
But they evaded the horses struck his hands together at these sights. of officers.
6. Monsieur de Montcalm is awake, Jacques rose, with the Canadians and mademoiselle! And see our sharpshoot- Indians, to his knees. He had a musket. ers picking them off! We can easily run Jeannette rose, also, as the Highlandinside the French lines now. These Eng- ers came sweeping on in pursuit. She lish will soon be tumbled back the way had scarcely been a woman to the bushthey came up.”
fighters. They were too eager in their In another hour the group of houses aim to glance aside at a rawboned camp was a roaring furnace. A detachment of follower in a wet shawl. Neither did the English light infantry, wheeled to drive Highlanders distinguish from other Caout the bushfighters, had lost and re- nadian heads the one with a woman's taken it many times, and neither party braids and a faint shadowing of hair at gave up the ready fortress until it was the corners of the mouth. They came set on fire. Crumbling red logs hissed on without suspecting an ambush, and in the thin rain, and smoke spread from she heard their strange cries
Shairm!"and“Caisteal Duna!” when ported by a soldier on each side. His the shock of a volley stopped the stream- white uniform was stained on the breast, ing tartans. She saw the play of sur- and blood dripped from the saddle. Jeanprise and fury in those mountaineer faces. nette heard the piercing cry of a little They threw down their muskets, and girl: “Oh, heavens! Oh, heavens! The turned on the ambushed Canadians, short marquis is killed !” And she heard the sword in hand.
fainting general gasp," It is nothing, it is Never did knight receive the blow of nothing. Don't be troubled for me, my the accolade as that crouching woman children.” took a Highland knife in her breast. She knew how he felt as he was led For one breath she grasped the back of by. The indistinctness of the opposite it with both hands, and her rapt eyes wall, which widened from the gate, was met the horrified eyes of Colonel Fraser. astonishing. And she was troubled by He withdrew the weapon, standing de- the same little boy whose head she had fenseless, and a ball struck him, cutting tied up in the log house. Jeannette looked the blood across his arm, and again he obliquely down at him as she braced herwas lost in the fury of battle, while self with chill fingers, and discerned that Jeannette felt herself dragged down the he was claimed by a weeping little girl slope.
to whom he yet paid no attention. She resisted. She heard a boy's voice “Let me help you, mademoiselle,” he pleading with her, but she got up and urged, troubling her. tried to go back to the spot from which “Go away,” said Jeannette. she had been dragged. The Canadians “But, mademoiselle, you have been and Indians were holding their ground. badly hurt.” She heard their muskets, but they were “Go away,” said Jeannette, and her far behind her, and the great rout caught limbs began to settle. She thought of her and whirled her. Officers on their smiling at the children, but her features horses were borne struggling along in it. were already cast. The English child She fell down and was trampled on, but held her on one side, and the French something helped her up.
child on the other, as she collapsed in a The flood of men poured along the sitting posture. Tender nuns, going from front of the ramparts and down to the friend to foe, would find this stoical face bridge of boats on the St. Charles, or against the wall. It was no strange sight into the city walls through the St. Louis then. Canada was taken. and St. John gates.
Men with bloody faces were already To Jeannette the world was far away. running with barricades for the gates. Yet she found it once mote close at Wailing for Montcalm could be heard. hand, as she stood with her back against The boy put his arm around the girl the lofty inner wall. The mad crowd and turned her eyes away. They ran tohad passed, and gone shouting down the gether up towards the citadel: England narrow streets. But the St. Louis gate and France with their hands locked ; was still choked with fugitives when Mont- young Canada weeping, but having a fucalm appeared, reeling on his horse, sup- ture.
Mary Hartwell Catherwood.