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long pauses while at work on the flats, to look up and gaze at the
scene of activity and bustle that was presented at the Knoll. On the
fourth day, towards evening, he was obliged to join the general "bee,"
with the few hands he had retained with himself.

By this time, the trench was dug, most of the timber was prepared, and
the business of setting up the stockade was commenced. Each young tree
was cut to the length of twenty feet, and pointed at one end. Mortices,
to receive cross-pieces, were cut at proper distances, and holes were
bored to admit the pins. This was all the preparation, and the timbers
were set in the trench, pointed ends uppermost. When a sufficient
number were thus arranged, a few inches from each other, the cross-
pieces were pinned on, bringing the whole into a single connected
frame, or bent. The bent was then raised to a perpendicular, and
secured, by pounding the earth around the lower ends of the timbers.
The latter process required care and judgment, and it was entrusted to
the especial supervision of the deliberate Jamie, the major having
discovered that the Yankees, in general, were too impatient to get on,
and to make a show. Serjeant Joyce was particularly useful in dressing
the rows of timber, and in giving the whole arrangement a military air.

"_Guid_ wark is far better than _quick_ wark," observed the
cool-headed Scotchman, as he moved about among the men, "and it's no
the fuss and bustle of acteevity that is to give the captain pleasure.
The thing that is well done, is done with the least noise and
confusion. Set the stockades mair pairpendic'lar, my men."

"Ay - dress them, too, my lads" - added the venerable ex-serjeant.

"This is queer plantin', Jamie," put in Joel, "and queerer grain will
come of it. Do you think these young chestnuts will ever grow, ag'in,
that you put them out in rows, like so much corn?"

"Now it's no for the growth we does it, Joel, but to presairve the
human growth we have. To keep the savage bairbers o' the wilderness
fra' clippin' our polls before the shearin' time o' natur' has gathered
us a' in for the hairvest of etairnity. They that no like the safety
we're makin' for them, can gang their way to 'ither places, where they
'11 find no forts, or stockades to trouble their een."

"I'm not critical at all, Jamie, though to my notion a much better use
for your timber plantation would be to turn it into sheds for cattle,
in the winter months. I can see some good in _that_, but none in

"Bad luck to ye, then, Misther Sthroddle," cried Mike, from the bottom
of the trench, where he was using a pounding instrument with the zeal
of a paviour - "Bad luck to the likes of ye, say I, Misther Strides. If
ye've no relish for a fortification, in a time of war, ye've only to
shoulther yer knapsack, and go out into the open counthry, where ye'll
have all to yer own satisfaction. Is it forthify the house, will we?
That we will, and not a hair of the missuss's head, nor of the young
ladies' heads, nor of the masther's head, though he's mighty bald as it
is, but not a hair of _all_ their heads shall be harmed, while
Jamie, and Mike, and the bould ould serjeant, here, can have their way.
I wish I had the trench full of yer savages, and a gineral funeral we'd
make of the vagabonds! Och! They're the divil's imps, I hear from all
sides, and no love do I owe them."

"And yet you're the bosom friend of Nick, who's anything but what I
call a specimen of his people."

"Is it Nick ye 're afther? Well, Nick's half-civilized accorthin' to
yer Yankee manners, and he's no spicimen, at all. Let him hear you call
him by sich a name, if ye want throuble."

Joel walked away, muttering, leaving the labourers in doubt whether he
relished least the work he was now obliged to unite in furthering, or
Mike's hit at his own peculiar people. Still the work proceeded, and in
one week from the day it was commenced, the stockade was complete, its
gate excepted. The entrance through the palisades was directly in front
of that to the house, and both passages still remained open, one set of
gates not being completed, and the other not yet being hung.

It was on a Saturday evening when the last palisade was placed firmly
in the ground, and all the signs of the recent labour were removed, in
order to restore as much of the former beauty of the Knoll as possible.
It had been a busy week; so much so, indeed, as to prevent the major
from holding any of that confidential intercourse with his mother and
sisters, in which it had been his habit to indulge in former visits.
The fatigues of the days sent everybody to their pillows early; and the
snatches of discourse which passed, had been affectionate and pleasant,
rather than communicative. Now that the principal job was so near being
finished, however, and the rubbish was cleared away, the captain
summoned the family to the lawn again, to enjoy a delicious evening
near the close of the winning month of May. The season was early, and
the weather more bland, than was usual, even in that sheltered and
genial valley. For the first time that year, Mrs. Willoughby consented
to order the tea-equipage to be carried to a permanent table that had
been placed under the shade of a fine elm, in readiness for any _fête
champêtre_ of this simple character.

"Come, Wilhelmina, give us a cup of your fragrant hyson, of which we
have luckily abundance, tax or no tax. I should lose _caste_, were
it known how much American treason we have gulped down, in this way;
but, a little tea, up here in the forest, can do no man's conscience
any great violence, in the long run. I suppose, major Willoughby, His
Majesty's forces do not disdain tea, in these stirring times."

"Far from it, sir; we deem it so loyal to drink it, that it is said the
port and sherry of the different messes, at Boston, are getting to be
much neglected. I am an admirer of tea, for itself, however, caring
little about its collateral qualities. Farrel" - turning to his man, who
was aiding Pliny the elder, in arranging the table - "when you are
through here, bring out the basket you will find on the toilet, in my

"True, Bob," observed the mother, smiling - "that basket has scarce been
treated with civility. Not a syllable of thanks have I heard, for all
the fine things it contains."

"My mind has been occupied with care for your safety, dear mother, and
that must be my excuse. Now, however, there is an appearance of
security which gives one a breathing-time, and my gratitude receives a
sudden impulse. As for you, Maud, I regret to be compelled to say that
you stand convicted of laziness; not a single thing do I owe to your
labours, or recollection of me."

"Is that possible!" exclaimed the captain, who was pouring water into
the tea-pot. "Maud is the last person I should suspect of neglect of
this nature; I do assure you, Bob, no one listens to news of your
promotions and movements with more interest than Maud."

Maud, herself, made no answer. She bent her head aside, in a secret
consciousness that her sister might alone detect, and form her own
conclusions concerning the colour that she felt warming her cheeks.
But, Maud's own sensitive feelings attributed more to Beulah than the
sincere and simple-minded girl deserved. So completely was she
accustomed to regard Robert and Maud as brother and sister, that even
all which had passed produced no effect in unsettling her opinions, or
in giving her thoughts a new direction. Just at this moment Farrel came
back, and placed the basket on the bench, at the side of his master.

"Now, my dearest mother, and you, girls" - the major had begun to drop
the use of the word 'sisters' when addressing _both_ the young
ladies - "Now, my dearest mother, and you, girls, I am about to give
each her due. In the first place, I confess my own unworthiness, and
acknowledge, that I do not deserve one-half the kind attention I have
received in these various presents, after which we will descend to

The major, then, exposed every article contained in the basket, finding
the words "mother" and "Beulah" pinned on each, but nowhere any
indication that his younger sister had even borne him in mind. His
father looked surprised at this, not to say a little grave; and he
waited, with evident curiosity, for the gifts of Maud, as one thing
after another came up, without any signs of her having recollected the

"This is odd, truly," observed the father, seriously; "I hope, Bob, you
have done nothing to deserve this? I should be sorry to have my little
girl affronted!"

"I assure you, sir, that I am altogether ignorant of any act, and I can
solemnly protest against any intention, to give offence. If guilty, I
now pray Maud to pardon me."

"You have done nothing, Bob - _said_ nothing, Bob - _thought_
nothing to offend me," cried Maud, eagerly.

"Why, then, have you forgotten him, darling, when your mother and
sister have done so much in the way of recollection?" asked the

"Forced gifts, my dear father, are no gifts. I do not like to be
compelled to make presents."

This was uttered in a way to induce the major to throw all the articles
back into the basket, as if he wished to get rid of the subject,
without further comment. Owing to this precipitation, the scarf was not
seen. Fortunately for Maud, who was ready to burst into tears, the
service of the tea prevented any farther allusion to the matter.

"You have told me, major," observed captain Willoughby, "that your old
regiment has a new colonel; but you have forgotten to mention his name.
I hope it is my old messmate, Tom Wallingford, who wrote me he had some
such hopes last year."

"General Wallingford has got a light-dragoon regiment - general Meredith
has my old corps; he is now in this country, at the head of one of
Gage's brigades."

It is a strong proof of the manner in which Maud - Maud Willoughby, as
she was ever termed - had become identified with the family of the
Hutted Knoll, that, with two exceptions, not a person present thought
of her, when the name of this general Meredith was mentioned; though,
in truth, he was the uncle of her late father. The exceptions were the
major and herself. The former now never heard the name without thinking
of his beautiful little playfellow, and nominal sister; while Maud, of
late, had become curious and even anxious on the subject of her natural
relatives. Still, a feeling akin to awe, a sentiment that appeared as
if it would be doing violence to a most solemn duty, prevented her from
making any allusion to her change of thought, in the presence of those
whom, during childhood, she had viewed only as her nearest relatives,
and who still continued so to regard her. She would have given the
world to ask Bob a few questions concerning the kinsman he had
mentioned, but could not think of doing so before her mother, whatever
she might be induced to attempt with the young man, when by himself.

Nick next came strolling along, gazing at the stockade, and drawing
near the table with an indifference to persons and things that
characterized his habits. When close to the party he stopped, keeping
his eye on the recent works.

"You see, Nick, I am about to turn soldier again, in my old days,"
observed the captain. "It is now many years since you and I have met
within a line of palisades. How do you like our work?"

"What you make him for, cap'in?"

"So as to be secure against any red-skins who may happen to long for
our scalps."

"Why want _your_ scalp? Hatchet hasn't been dug up, atween us -
bury him so deep can't find him in ten, two, six year."

"Ay, it has long been buried, it is true; but you red gentlemen have a
trick of digging it up, with great readiness, when there is any
occasion for it. I suppose you know, Nick, that there are troubles in
the colonies?"

"Tell Nick all about him," - answered the Indian, evasively - "No read -
no hear - don't talk much - talk most wid Irisher - can't understand what
he want - say t'ing one way, den say him, anoder."

"Mike is not very lucid of a certainty," rejoined the captain,
laughing, all the party joining in the merriment - "but he is a sterling
good fellow, and is always to be found, in a time of need."

"Poor rifle - nebber hit - shoot one way, look t'other?"

"He is no great shot, I will admit; but he is a famous fellow with a
shillaleh. Has he given you any of the news?"

"All he say, news - much news ten time, as one time. Cap'in lend Nick a
quarter dollar, yesterday."

"I did lend you a quarter, certainly, Nick; and I supposed it had gone
to the miller for rum, before this. What am I to understand by your
holding it out in this manner? - that you mean to repay me!"

"Sartain - good quarter - just like him cap'in lent Nick. Like as one
pea. Nick man of honour; keep his word."

"This does look more like it than common, Nick. The money was to be
returned to-day, but I did not expect to see it, so many previous
contracts of that nature having been vacated, as the lawyers call it."

"Tuscarora chief alway gentleman. What he say, he do. Good quarter
dollar, dat, cap'in?"

"It is unexceptionable, old acquaintance; I'll not disdain receiving
it, as it may serve for a future loan."

"No need bye'm-by - take him, now - cap'in, lend Nick dollar; pay him to-

The captain protested against the _sequitur_ that the Indian
evidently wished to establish; declining, though in a good-natured
manner, to lend the larger sum. Nick was disappointed, and walked
sullenly away, moving nearer to the stockade, with the air of an
offended man.

"That is an extraordinary fellow, sir!" observed the major - "I really
wonder you tolerate him so much about the Hut. It might be a good idea
to banish him, now that the war has broken out."

"Which would be a thing more easily said than done. A drop of water
might as readily be banished from that stream, as an Indian, from any
part of the forest he may choose to visit. You brought him here
yourself, Bob, and should not blame us for tolerating his presence."

"I brought him, sir, because I found he recognised me even in this
dress, and it was wise to make a friend of him. Then I wanted a guide,
and I was well assured he knew the way, if any man did. He is a surly
scoundrel, however, and appears to have changed his character, since I
was a boy."

"If there be any change, Bob, it is in yourself. Nick has been Nick
these thirty years, or as long as I have known him. Rascal he is, or
his tribe would not have cast him out. Indian justice is stern, but it
is natural justice. No man is ever put to the ban among the red men,
until they are satisfied he is not fit to enjoy savage rights. In
garrison, we always looked upon Nick as a clever knave, and treated him
accordingly. When one is on his guard against such a fellow, he can do
little harm, and this Tuscarora has a salutary dread of me, which keeps
him in tolerable order, during his visits to the Hut. The principal
mischief he does here, is to get Mike and Jamie deeper in the Santa
Cruz than I could wish; but the miller has his orders to sell no more

"I hardly think you do Nick justice, Willoughby," observed the right-
judging and gentle wife. "He has _some_ good qualities; but you
soldiers always apply martial-law to the weaknesses of your fellow-

"And you tender-hearted women, my dear Wilhelmina, think everybody as
good as yourselves."

"Remember, Hugh, when your son, there, had the canker-rash, how
actively and readily the Tuscarora went into the forest to look for the
gold-thread that even the doctors admitted cured him. It was difficult
to find, Robert; but Nick remembered a spot where he had seen it, fifty
miles off; and, without a request even, from us, he travelled that
distance to procure it."

"Yes, this is true" - returned the captain, thoughtfully - "though I
question if the cure was owing to the gold-thread, as you call it,
Wilhelmina. Every man has some good quality or other; and, I much fear,
some bad ones also. - But, here is the fellow coming back, and I do not
like to let him think himself of sufficient consequence to be the
subject of our remarks."

"Very true, sir - it adds excessively to the trouble of such fellows, to
let them fancy themselves of importance."

Nick, now, came slowly back, after having examined the recent changes
to his satisfaction. He stood a moment in silence, near the table, and
then, assuming an air of more dignity than common, he addressed the

"Nick ole _chief_" he said. "Been at Council Fire, often as
cap'in. Can't tell, all he know; want to hear about new war."

"Why, Nick, it is a family quarrel, this time. The French have nothing
to do with it."

"Yengeese fight Yengeese - um?"

"I am afraid it will so turn out. Do not the Tuscaroras sometimes dig
up the hatchet against the Tuscaroras?"

"Tuscarora man kill Tuscarora man - good - he quarrel, and kill he enemy.
But Tuscarora warrior nebber take scalp of Tuscarora squaw and
pappoose! What you t'ink he do dat for? Red man no hog, to eat pork."

"It must be admitted, Nick, you are a very literal logician - 'dog won't
eat dog,' is our English saying. Still the _Yankee_ will fight the
Yengeese, it would seem. In a word, the Great Father, in England, has
raised the hatchet against his American children."

"How you like him, cap'in - um? Which go on straight path, which go on
crooked? How you like him?"

"I like it little, Nick, and wish with all my heart the quarrel had not
taken place."

"Mean to put on regimentals - hah! Mean to be cap'in, ag'in? Follow drum
and fife, like ole time?"

"I rather think not, old comrade. After sixty, one likes peace better
than war; and I intend to stay at home."

"What for, den, build fort? Why you put fence round a house, like pound
for sheep?"

"Because I intend to _stay_ there. The stockade will be good to
keep off any, or every enemy who may take it into their heads to come
against us. You have known me defend a worse position than this."

"He got no gate," muttered Nick - "What he good for, widout gate?
Yengeese, Yankees, red man, French man, walk in just as he please. No
good to leave such squaw wid a door wide open."

"Thank you, Nick," cried Mrs. Willoughby. "I knew you were _my_
friend, and have not forgotten the gold-thread."

"He _very_ good," answered the Indian, with an important look.
"Pappoose get well like not'ing. He a'most die, to-day; to-morrow he
run about and play. Nick do him, too; cure him wid gold-thread."

"Oh! you are, or were quite a physician at one time, Nick. I remember
when you had the smallpox, yourself."

The Indian turned, with the quickness of lightning, to Mrs. Willoughby,
whom he startled with his energy, as he demanded -

"You remember dat, Mrs. cap'in! Who gib him - who cure him - um?"

"Upon my word, Nick, you almost frighten me. I fear I gave you the
disease, but it was for your own good it was done. You were inoculated
by myself, when the soldiers were dying around us, because they had
never had that care taken of them. All I inoculated lived; yourself
among the number."

The startling expression passed away from the fierce countenance of the
savage, leaving in its place another so kind and amicable as to prove
he not only was aware of the benefit he had received, but that he was
deeply grateful for it. He drew near to Mrs. Willoughby, took her still
white and soft hand in his own sinewy and dark fingers, then dropped
the blanket that he had thrown carelessly across his body, from a
shoulder, and laid it on a mark left by the disease, by way of pointing
to her good work. He smiled, as this was done.

"Ole mark," he said, nodding his head - "sign we good friend - he nebber
go away while Nick live."

This touched the captain's heart, and he tossed a dollar towards the
Indian, who suffered it, however, to lie at his feet unnoticed. Turning
to the stockade, he pointed significantly at the open gateways.

"Great danger go t'rough little 'ole," he said, sententiously, walking
away as he concluded. "Why you leave big 'ole open?"

"We _must_ get those gates hung next week," said the captain,
positively; "and yet it is almost absurd to apprehend anything serious
in this remote settlement, and that at so early a period in the war."

Nothing further passed on the lawn worthy to be recorded. The sun set,
and the family withdrew into the house, as usual, to trust to the
overseeing care of Divine Providence, throughout a night passed in a
wilderness. By common consent, the discourse turned upon things noway
connected with the civil war, or its expected results, until the party
was about to separate for the night, when the major found himself alone
with his sisters, in his own little parlour, dressing-room, or study,
whatever the room adjoining his chamber could properly be called.

"You will not leave us soon, Robert," said Beulah, taking her brother's
hand, with confiding affection, "I hardly think my father young and
active enough, or rather _alarmed_ enough, to live in times like

"He is a soldier, Beulah, and a good one; so good that his son can
teach him nothing. I wish I could say that he is as good a
_subject_: I fear he leans to the side of the colonies."

"Heaven be praised!" exclaimed Beulah - "Oh! that his son would incline
in the same direction."

"Nay, Beulah," rejoined Maud, reproachfully; "you speak without
reflection. Mamma bitterly regrets that papa sees things in the light
he does. _She_ thinks the parliament right, and the colonies

"What a thing is a civil war!" ejaculated the major - "Here is husband
divided against wife - son against father - brother against sister. I
could almost wish I were dead, ere I had lived to see this!"

"Nay, Robert, it is not so bad as that, either," added Maud. "My mother
will never oppose my father's will or judgment. Good wives, you know,
never do _that_. She will only pray that he may decide right, and
in a way that his children will never have cause to regret. As for me,
I count for nothing, of course."

"And Beulah, Maud; is she nothing, too? Here will Beulah be praying for
her brother's defeat, throughout this war. It has been some
presentiment of this difference of opinion that has probably induced
you to forget me, while Beulah and my mother were passing so many hours
to fill that basket."

"Perhaps you do Maud injustice, Robert," said Beulah, smiling. "I think
I can say none loves you better than our dear sister - or no one has
thought of you more, in your absence."

"Why, then, does the basket contain no proof of this remembrance - not
even a chain of hair - a purse, or a ring - nothing, in short, to show
that I have not been forgotten, when away."

"Even if this be so," said Maud, with spirit, "in what am I worse than
yourself. What proof is there that you have remembered _us?_"

"This," answered the major, laying before his sisters two small
packages, each marked with the name of its proper owner. "My mother has
her's, too, and my father has not been forgotten."

Beulah's exclamations proved how much she was gratified with her
presents; principally trinkets and jewelry, suited to her years and
station. First kissing the major, she declared her mother must see what
she had received, before she retired for the night, and hurried from
the room. That Maud was not less pleased, was apparent by her glowing
cheeks and tearful eyes; though, for a wonder, she was far more
restrained in the expression of her feelings. After examining the
different articles, with pleasure, for a minute or two, she went, with
a quick impetuous movement, to the basket, tumbled all its contents on
the table, until she reached the scarf, which she tossed towards the
major, saying, with a faint laugh -

"There, unbeliever - heathen - is _that_ nothing? Was that made in a
minute, think you?"

"_This!_" cried the major, opening the beautiful, glossy fabric in
surprise. "Is not this one of my father's old sashes, to which I have
fallen heir, in the order of nature?"

Maud dropped her trinkets, and seizing two corners of the sash, she
opened it, in a way to exhibit its freshness and beauty.

"Is this _old_, or _worn?_" she asked, reproachfully. "Your
father never even saw it, Bob. It has not yet been around the waist of

"It is not possible! - This would be the work of months - is _so_
beautiful - you cannot have purchased it."

Maud appeared distressed at his doubts. Opening the folds still wider,
she raised the centre of the silk to the light, pointed to certain
letters that had been wrought into the fabric, so ingeniously as to

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