Frederick Marryat.

Poor Jack; and The settlers in Canada online

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lodges, but everything appeared quiet, and not a single person
came out. Having examined the priming of the rifles, every
man was directed to take up a certain position, so as to sur-
round the buildings and support each other. John was
appointed to the office of looking after his cousin Mary, and
preventing the women from escaping with her from the lodge
in which she was confined ; and John took his office willingly,
as he considered it one of importance, although it had been
given him more with a view that he might not be exposed to
danger. Leaving the prisoners to the charge of the Strawberry,
who, with her knife drawn, stood over them, ready to act upon
the slightest attempt of escape on their pai*t, the whole party
now crept softly toward the lodges, by the same path as had
been taken by Malachi and the Indian woman. As soon as



they had all arrived, they waited for a few minutes, while
Malachi reconnoitred, and when they perceived that he did
so, they all rose up and hastened to their allotted stations
round the lodge into which the Angry Snake and his followers
had entered. The Indians appeared to be asleep, for every-
thing remained quiet.

" Let us first lead Miss Percival away to a place of safety,"
whispered Captain Sinclair.

" Do you do it, then," said Alfred ; " there are plenty of us
without you."

Captain Sinclair hastened to the lodge in which Miss
Percival had been placed, and opened the door. Mary Per-
cival, as soon as she beheld Captain Sinclair, uttered a loud
scream of delight, and, rising from the skins on which she had
been laid, fell upon his neck. Captain Sinclair caught her in
his arms, and was bearing her out of the lodge, when an Indian
woman caught him by the coat ; but John, who had entered,
putting the muzzle of his rifle into their faces, they let go and
retreated, and Captain Sinclair bore away Mary in his arms
into the brushwood, where the Strawberry was standing over
the Indian prisoners. The scream of Mary Percival had roused
the Indians, who, after their exhaustion and privations, were
in a sound sleep ; but still no movement was to be heard in
the lodge, and a debate between Malachi and Alfred, whether
they should enter the lodge or not, was put an end to by a
rifle being fired from the lodge, and the fall of one of the
soldiers, who was next to Alfred. Another shot followed, and
Martin received a bullet in his shoulder, and then out bounded
the Angry Snake, followed by his band, the chief whirling his
tomahawk, and springing upon Malachi, while the others at-
tacked Alfred and Martin, who were nearest to the door of the
lodge. The rifle of Malachi met the breast of the Angry Snake
as he advanced, and the contents were discharged through his
body. The other Indians fought desperately, but the whole
of the attacking party closing in, they were overpowered.
Only two of them, however, were taken alive, and these were
seriously wounded. They were tied and laid on the ground.

" He was a bad man, sir," said Malachi, M'ho was standing
over the body of the Indian chief ; " but he will do no more

" Are you much hurt, Martin ? " inquired Alfred.


" No, sir, not much ; the ball has passed right through
and touched no bone ; so I am in luck. I'll go to the
Strawberry, and get her to bind it up."

" He is quite dead, sir," said Graves, who was kneeling by
the side of the soldier who had been shot by the first rifle.

" Poor fellow ! " exclaimed Alfred. " Well, I'm not sorry
that they commenced the attack upon us ; for I do not
know whether I could have used my rifle unless they had
done so."

"They never expected quarter, sir," said Malachi.

" I suppose not. Now, what are we to do with the women?
They can do no harm."

" Not much, sir ; but, at all events, we must put it out of
their power. We must take possession of all the weapons
we can find in the lodges. We have their two rifles ; but we
must collect all the bows and arrows, tomahawks, and knives,
and either destroy or keep possession of them. John, will
you look to that ? Take Graves with you."

"Yes," replied John, who with Graves, immediately com-
menced his search of the lodges.

The two women, who had been in the lodge with Mary
Percival, had remained where they were, as John's rifle had
kept them from leaving the lodge ; but the other two had
escaped into the woods during the affray. This was of little
consequence ; indeed, the others were told that they might
go away, if they would ; and as soon as they heard this from
Malachi, they followed the example of their companions.
John and Graves brought out all the arms they could find,
and Malachi and Alfred then went to the bushes to which
Mary Percival and Sinclair had previously retired. Alfred
embraced his cousin, who was still too greatly agitated to say
much, being almost ovei'powered by the sudden transition
in all her thoughts and feelings : and, in the variety of her
emotions, perhaps the most bewildering was that occasioned
by the re-appearance of Percival, like a restoration from the
dead. Alfred was in consultation with Malachi, when he
perceived the flames bursting out of the lodges. Martin, as
soon as his wound was dressed, had returned and set fire to

" It's all right, sir," said Malachi ; " it will leave the
proof of our victory, and be a caution to other Indians."



" But what will become of the women ? "

"They will join some other band, sir, and tell the -story.
It is better that they should."

" And our prisoners, what shall we do with them ? "

" Release them ; by-and-by, sir, we shall have nothing to
fear from them ; but we will first take them two or three
days' march into the woods, in case they have alliance with
any other band whom they might call to their assistance."

" And the wounded Indians ? "

" Must be left to Providence, sir. We cannot take them.
We will leave them provisions and water. The women will
come back and find them ; if they are alive, they will look
after them ; if dead, bury them. But here comes John, with
some bears' skins which he has saved for Miss Mary ; that
was thoughtful of the boy. As soon as the flames are down,
we will take up our quarters in the clearing, and set a watch
for the night ; and to-morrow, with the help of God, we will
commence our journey back. We shall bring joy to your
father and mother, and the sooner we do it the better ; for
they must be anything but comfortable at our long absence."

" Yes," said Mary Percival ; " what a state of suspense
they must be in ! Truly, as the Bible saith, ' Hope deferred
maketh the heart sick.' "


JN OT one of the party slept much on this night. There
was much to do, and much to be looked after. Captain
Sinclair, as it may be supposed, was fully occupied with Mary
Percival, of whom more anon. As soon as they had taken
up their position in the clearing, and made arrangements for
the accommodation of Mary, they relieved the Strawberry
from her charge of the prisoners, whom they brought to the
clearing, and made to sit down close to them. Percival, who
had not yet been freed from his bonds, was now untied, and
suffered to walk about, one of the men keeping close to him,
and watching him carefully. The first object which caught
his eye, was the body of the Angry Snake. Percival looked
on it for some time, and then sat down by the side of it.



There lie remained for more than two hours, without speak-
ing, when a hole having been dug out by one of the party,
the body was put in and covered up. Percival remained a
few minutes by the side of the grave, and then turned to the
two wounded Indians. He brought them water, and spoke
to them in the Indian tongue ; but while he was still with
them, Mary sent for him to speak with him, for as yet she
had scarcely seen him. The sight of Mary appeared to have
a powerful effect upon the boy ; he listened to her as she
soothed and caressed him, and appearing to be overcome
with a variety of sensations, he lay down, moaned, and at last
fell fast asleep.

The soldier who had been shot by the Angry Snake was
buried before they buried the chief. Martin's wound had
been dressed by his wife, the Strawberry, who was very skilful
in Indian surgery. She had previously applied cataplasms
made from the bruised leaves which she and the Indian
woman had sought for, to the feet of Mary Percival. which
were in a state of great inflammation, and Mary had found
herself already much relieved by the application. Before
the day dawned, the two Indians who had been wounded
were dead, and were immediately buried by the side of the

Alfred and Malachi had resolved to set off the next morn-
ing on their return home, if they found it possible to convey
Mary Percival ; but their party was now reduced, as one of
the soldiers had been killed, and Martin was incapable of
service. The Indian woman would also be fully loaded with
the extra rifles, the two which they had captured from the
Indians, the one belonging to the soldier, and Martin's, who
could not carry anything in his present state.

They were now only six effective men, as John could not
be of much use in carrying, and, moreover, was appointed
to watch Percival. Then they had the two prisoners to
take charge of, so that they were somewhat embarrassed.
Malachi, however, proposed that they should make a litter
of boughs, welded together very tight, and suspended on a
pole so as to be carried between two men. Mary Percival
was not a very great weight, and, by relieving each other
continually, they would be able to get some miles every day,
till Mary was well enough to walk with them. Alfred



assented to this, and, as soon as it was daylight, went into
the woods with Malachi, to assist him in cutting the boughs.
On their return, they found that all the rest of the party
were up, and that Mary felt little or no pain. They made
their breakfast on their salt provisions, which were now
nearly expended, and as soon as their meal was over, they
put Mary upon the litter and set off, taking the Indian
prisoners with them, as they thought it not yet advisable to
give them their liberty. The first day they made but a few
miles, as they were obliged to stop, that they might procure
some food. The party were left under a large tree, which
was a good landmark, under the charge of Captain Sinclair,
while Malachi and Alfred went in search of game. At night-
fall they returned with a deer which they had killed, when
the Strawberry informed them that the Indian woman had
told her, that about two miles to the southward there was a
river which ran into the lake, and that there were two canoes
belonging to the band, hauled up in the bushes on the
beach ; that the river was broad and swift, and would soon
take them to the lake, by the shores of which they could
paddle the canoe to the settlement. This appeared worthy
of consideration, as it would in the end, perhaps, save time,
and at all events allow Mary Percival to recover. They
decided that they would go to the river, and take the canoes,
as the Indian woman said that they were large enough to
hold them all.

The next morning, guided by the Indian woman, they set
off in the direction of the river, and arrived at it in the
afternoon. They found the canoes, which were large, and in
good order, and having carried them down to the beach, they
resolved to put off their embarkation till the following day,
as they were again in want of provisions for their subsistence.
Alfred, Malachi, and John went out this time, for Percival had
shown himself so quiet and contented, and had gradually
become so fond of being near Mary Percival, that he appeared
to have awakened from his Indian dream, and renewed all
his former associations. They did not, therefore, think it
necessary to watch him any more indeed, he never would
leave Mary's side, and began now to ask many questions,
which proved that he had recalled to mind much of what had
been forgotten during his long sojourn with the Indians. The



hunters returned, having been very successful, and loaded
with meat enough to last for four or five days. At daylight
the next morning, they led the prisoners about half a mile
into the woods, and, pointing to the north as to the direction
they were to go, cast loose the deer-thongs which confined
them, and set them at liberty. Having done this, they
embarked in the canoes, arid were soon gliding rapidly down
the stream.

The river upon which they embarked, at that time little
known to the Europeans, is now called the river Thames,
and the town built upon it is named London. It falls into
the upper part of Lake Ontario, and is a fine rapid stream.
For three days they paddled their canoes, disembarking at
night to sleep and cook their provisions, and 011 the fourth
they were compelled to stop, that they might procure more
food. They were successful, and on the next day they
entered the lake, about two hundred miles to the west of the
settlement. Mary Percival was now quite recovered, and
found her journey or voyage delightful ; the country was in
full beauty ; the trees waved their boughs down to the river-
side, and they did not fall in with any Indians, or perceive
any lodges on the bank. Sometimes they started the deer
which had come down to drink in the stream, and on one
occasion, as they rounded a point, they fell in with a herd
which were in the water swimming across, and in this position
they destroyed as many as they required for their food till
they hoped to arrive at the settlement.

Percival was now quite reconciled to his removal from an
Indian life, and appeared most anxious to rejoin his father
and mother, of whom he talked incessantly ; for he had again
recovered his English, which, strange to say, although he
perfectly understood it when spoken to, he had almost
forgotten to pronounce, and at first spoke with difficulty.
The weather was remarkably fine, and the waters of the lake
were so smooth, that they made rapid progress, although
they invariably disembarked at night. The only annoyance
they had was from the musquitoes, which rose in clouds as
soon as they landed, and were not to be dispersed until
they had lighted a very large fire, accompanied with thick
smoke ; but this was a trifle compared with their joy at
the happy deliverance of the prisoners, and success of their



expedition. Most grateful, indeed, were they to God for
His mercies, and none more so than Mary Percival and
Captain Sinclair, who never left her side till it was time to
retire to rest.

On the sixth day, in the forenoon, they were delighted to
perceive Fort Frontignac in the distance, and although the
house at the settlement was hid from their sight by the point
covered with wood which intervened, they knew that they
were not above four or five miles distant. In less than
another hour, they were abreast of the prairie, and landed
at the spot where their own punt was moored. Mr. and
Mrs. Campbell had not perceived the canoes, for, although
anxiously looking out every day for the return of the party,
their eyes and attention were directed on land, not having
any idea of their return by \vater.

" My dear Alfred," said Mary, " I do not think it will be
prudent to let my aunt see Percival at once ; we must prepare
her a little for his appearance. She has so long considered
him as dead, that the shock may be too great."

" You say true, my dear Mary. Then we will go forward
with Captain Sinclair and Malachi, and John. Let Percival
be put in the middle of the remainder of the party, who
must follow afterward, and then be taken up to Malachi's
lodge. He can remain there with the Strawberry until we
come and fetch him."

Having made these arrangements, to which Percival was
with difficulty made to agree, they walked up as proposed, to
the house. Outside of the palisade, they perceived Mr. and
Mrs. Campbell, with their backs toward them, looking toward
the forest, in the direction which the party had taken when
they left. But when they were half-way from the beach,
Henry came out with Oscar from the cottage, and the dog,
immediately perceiving them, bounded to them, barking with
delight. Henry cried out, " Father mother, here they are,
here they come." Mr. and Mrs. Campbell of course turned
round, and beheld the party advancing ; they flew to meet
them, and as they caught Mary in their arms, all explanation
for a time was unnecessary she was recovered, and that was
sufficient for the time.

" Come, mother, let us go into the house, that you may
compose yourself a little," said Alfred, that she might not



perceive Percival among the party that followed at a distance.
" Let me support you. Take my arm."

Mrs. Campbell, who trembled very much, did so, and
thus turned away from the group among whom Percival
was walking. Ernma was looking at them attentively, and
was about to exclaim, when Captain Sinclair put his finger
to his lips.

As soon as they arrived at the house, and had gone in,
Alfred, in a few words, gave them an account of what had
passed how successful they had been in their attempt, and
how little they had to fear from the Indians in future.

" How grateful I am ! " exclaimed Mrs. Campbell. " God
be praised for all His mercies ! I was fearful that I should
have lost you, my dear Mary, as well as my poor boy. He is
lost for ever but God's will be done."

" It is very strange, mother," said Alfred, " but we heard,
on our journey, that the Indians had found a white boy in
the woods."

" Alas ! not mine."

" I have reason to believe that it was Percival, my dear
mother, and have hopes that he is yet alive."

" My dear Alfred, do not say so unless you have good
cause ; you little know the yearnings of a mother's heart ;
the very suggestion of such a hope has thrown me into a
state of agitation and nervousness of which you can form no
conception. I have been reconciled to the Divine will ; let
me not return to a state of anxiety and repining."

" Do you think, my dear mother, that I would raise such
hopes if I had not good reason to suppose that they would
be realised ? No, my dear mother, I am not so cruel."

"Then you know that Percival is alive?" said Mrs. Camp-
bell, seizing Alfred by the arm.

Calm yourself, my dear mother, I do know I am certain
that he is alive, and that it was he who was found by the
Indians ; and I have great hopes that we may recover him."

" God grant it ! God grant it in His great mercy ! " said
Mrs. Campbell, " my heart is almost breaking with joy : may
God sustain me ! Oh, where is he my dear Alfred where
is he?" continued Mrs. Campbell. Alfred made no reply,
but a flood of tears came to her relief.

" I will explain it to you when you are more composed,



my dear mother. Emma, you have not said one word to

" I have been too much overjoyed to speak, Alfred,"
replied Emma, extending her hand to him, " but no one
welcomes your return more sincerely than I do, and no one
is more grateful to you for having brought Mary back."

"Now, Alfred, I am calm," said Mrs. Campbell, "so let
me hear at once all you know."

" I see you are calm, my dear mother, and I therefore now
tell you that Percival is not far off."

" Alfred ! he is here ; I am sure he is."

" He is with Malachi and the Strawberry ; in a minute I
will bring him."

Alfred left the house : the intelligence was almost too
overpowering for Mrs. Campbell. Mary and Emma hastened
to her, and supported her. In another minute Alfred
returned with Percival, and the mother embraced and wept
over her long-lost child, and then gave him to his father's

" How this has happened, and by what merciful inter-
ference he has been preserved and restored to us," said
Mr. Campbell, when their first emotions were over, " we
have yet to learn ; but one thing we do know, and are sure
of, that it is by the goodness of God alone. Let us return
our thanks while our hearts are yet warm with gratitude and
love, and may our thanksgiving be graciously received."

Mr. Campbell kneeled down, and his example was followed
by all the rest of the party assembled. In a fervent tone he
returned thanks for the recent mercies vouchsafed to his
family, which, he expressed a hope, would never be forgotten,
but would prove a powerful inducement to them all, to lead
a more devout life of faith in Him who had so graciously
supported them in the hour of peril and affliction, who had
so wonderfully restored to them their lost treasures, and
turned all their gloom into sunshine, filling their hearts
with joy and gladness.

"And now, my dear Alfred," said Mrs. Campbell, whose
arms still encircled the neck of Percival, " do pray tell us
what has taken place, and how you recovered Mary and this
dear boy."

Alfred then entered into his detail, first stating the



knowledge which Captain Sinclair, Malachi, and himself had
of Percival being still in existence from the letter written
by the Indian woman, the seizure and confinement of the
Young Otter in consequence, which was retaliated by the
abduction of Mary. When he had finished, Mr. Campbell

"And poor Martin, where is he, that I may thank him?"

" He is at his own lodge, with the Strawberry, who is
dressing his wound ; for we have not been able to do so for
two or three days, and it has become very painful."

" We owe him a large debt of gratitude," said Mr.
Campbell; "he has suffered much on our account. And
your poor man, Captain Sinclair, who fell ! "

" Yes," replied Sinclair, " he was one of our best men
but it was the will of Heaven. He lost his life in the
recovery of my dear Mary, and I shall not forget his wife and
child, you may depend upon it."

" Now, Mary, let us have your narrative of what passed
when you were in company of the Indians, before your

" I was, as you know, gathering the cranberries in the
Cedar Swamp, when I was suddenly seized, and something
was thrust against my mouth, so that I had no time or power
to cry out. My head was then wrapped up in some folds of
blanket, by which I was almost suffocated, and I was then
lifted up and borne away by two or three men. For a time
I kept my senses, but at last the suffocation was so great,
that my head swam, and I believe I fainted, for I do not
recollect being put down; yet after a time I found myself
lying under a tree, and surrounded by five or six Indians,
who were squatted round me. I was not a little terrified, as
you may imagine. They neither moved nor spoke for some
time ; I endeavoured to rise, but a hand on my shoulder
kept me down, and I did not attempt a useless resistance.
Soon afterward, an Indian woman brought me some water,
and I immediately recognised her as the one whom we had
succoured when we found her in the woods. This gave me
courage and hope, though her countenance was immovable,
and I could not perceive, even by her eyes, that she
attempted any recognition ; but reflection convinced me
that, if she intended to help me, she was right in so doing.



After I had raised myself, and drunk some water, the Indians
had a talk in a low voice. I observed that they paid defer-
ence to one, and from the description which my father and
Alfred had given of the Angry Snake, I felt sure that it was
he. We remained about half-an-hour on this spot, when
they rose, and made signs to me that I was to come with
them. Of course I could do no otherwise, and we walked
till night came on, when I was, as you may imagine, not a
little tired. They then left me with the Indian woman,
retiring a few yards from me. The woman made signs that
I was to sleep, and although I thought that was impossible,
I was so much fatigued that, after putting up my prayers to
the Almighty, I had not lain down many minutes before I
was fast asleep.

" Before daylight, I was awakened by their voices, and the
woman brought me a handful of parched Indian corn ; not
quite so good a breakfast as I had been accustomed to ; but
I was hungry, and I contrived to eat it. As soon as the day
broke we set off again, and toward evening arrived at a lake.
A canoe was brought out from some bushes ; we all got into
it, and paddled up along the banks for two or three hours,
when we disembarked and renewed our journey. My feet
were now becoming very sore and painful, for they were

Online LibraryFrederick MarryatPoor Jack; and The settlers in Canada → online text (page 56 of 58)