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falling upon the prisoners, none being more forward in this fiendish
desire than those who had done the least towards aehie\'ing the
victory.

Major Bain gave orders for the interment of the dead, and the
care of the wounded, and placing a strong guard on the walls and
at the gates, directed his men to hold themselves in readiness for a
march at dawn against the neighboring Huron settlement. Count
Carlton not appearing among the prisoners, he ordered a diligent
search to be made for him among the fallen, and in every part of
the castle. He paid a visit to the remains of the baron, in which
solemn presence he encountered the half-distracted Blanche, and
Myrtle, with Emily and the baroness, and several of the priests and
domestics, to all of whom he gave assurances of protection, until
the morrow, and permission then to depart to Montreal, or to such
other French post as they might choose, and to take with them the
body of the baron, or to bestow upon it, before leaving, such fitting
burial as the time and place would permit.

" It ^Y\\\ be my duty," he said, amidst the interrupting sobs and
groans of his auditors, " to destroy the castle before leaving, and I
shall be therefore under the necessity of hastening your departure."

" But the severely wounded and dying ?" interposed a venerable
priest : " they who can neither accompany you as prisoners, nor go
with us ? Surely you will make some provision for men who require
both medical aid, and the consolations of religion."

" I have not overlooked their necessities," rephed the major
humanely ; " a portion of the barracks will be left standing for their
accommodation, and such of your order who desire, can remain with
them ; doubtless, also, some of your Indian allies will come to their
assistance, after we have departed."

" The chapel, if your honor pleases, will better accommodate
them," replied another, anxious to preserve a building hallowed by
many sacred associations.

" The chapel will be destroyed," rephed Bain, in tones that



THE KING OF THE HURON S. 307

admitted of no remonstrance, — " it is a strong building, and might
itself be turned into a fort."

Blanche ^Yas with difficulty induced to withdraw from the side of
her deceased parent, and to seek that quietude and restoration which
her shocked and agitated heart required. Her grief for her father
was most intense, despite all his harshness and severity towards her,
and was aggTavated by the thought that her own conduct, although
dictated by the strictest sense of duty, had contributed to his fate by
engrossing his attention, and thus causing a remissness and relaxa-
tion of his ordinary vigilance in defence of his post.

Scarcely had she reached her own room, when the astonishing
mtelligence was brought to her that Mr. Huntington was among the
conquering army, and desired to be permitted to speak to her ; but
the consolation which the knowledge of his presence would other-
wise have imparted, was now lost in the dreadful thought that he
had been an actor in the scenes which had resulted so tragically to
her nearest relative ; nay, that perhaps his agency had chiefly caused
the success of the attack. Was it possible, she asked herself, that
he had been capable of using the knowledge which he had gained,
during his stay at the castle, to aid in its overthrow, and in the
destruction and subjugation of her friends and countrymen ? True
he had been greatly Avi'onged and oppressed by that haughty and
powerful man, who was now turned to clay, harmless as its kindred
clods, but there was no justification for revenge, and above all for a
revenge wdiich included the innocent with the guilty. The thought
that Henrich had been thus culpable was agonizing beyond endur-
ance, and a confirmation of her suspicions must not only place a
barrier between them which no time could remove, but would crum-
ble, at a blow, her bright ideal of human excellence and worth.

But Henrich came, and all these apprehensions were dispelled ;
he hastened, indeed, unaccused, to disclaim the very acts of which
she had so much reason to suspect him, and to place his conduct in
the kreproachable light, which truth admitted and required. He



308 THE KING OF THE HURONS.

had neither by advice nor action contributed in the shghtest degree
to the surprise or capture of the castle ; he had entered within the
walls with that portion of the enemy to whom the gates had been
opened by the scaling party, and had remained a passive spectator
of the scenes which ensued. Unspeakable was Miss Montaigne's
relief to learn these gratifying facts — to learn that it was in reality
as a prisoner of the invading army, and not as an enemy, or as a
retributor of private wrongs, that Henrich had returned ; and she
rejoiced that now, in the midst of the horrors wdiich surrounded her,
she might still look for advice, consolation, and support, to one who
had so often before shown his willingness and ability to aid her.

Yet she did not forget amidst this returning calm, that her plighted
promise to wed the count was still binding upon her, if he yet hved,
and should claim its fulfilment. The decease of her father, so far
from releasing her from the obhgation, had given to it additional
force. It was a promise to the dead^ who could not claim its per-
formance, who could not reproach her for dereliction, and thus it
became doubly imperative. She shuddered as this dreadful
remembrance crossed her mind, but banished it for a time, with some
indefinite hope of rehef.

The fate of Carlton, meanwhile, remained undiscovered. He had
taken but httle part in the engagement, and it was supposed that,
impelled by the consciousness of his peculiar danger, he had fled to
the forest before the gates were fully in the possession of the foe.
Major Bain was greatly disappointed at not finding him ; he did not
believe, however, that he had escaped, and ordered the strictest
vigilance to prevent his passing out, either in disguise or otherwise, if
he was yet within the fort.

In the morning he carried out the plan of action on which he had
resolved ; he attacked the Huron village (from which the warriors
and other inhabitants, warned of his approach, and conscious of their
inability to withstand him, had fled with their efiects), and burned
it to the ground, destroying at the same time, with the cruel policy



THE KING OF THE HURONS. 309

of war, tlie growing harvests around it. He next fired the chapel,
having first permitted the weeping priests to remove what they
chose of its sacred contents, and while its lurid flames were gilding
the heavens, the torches were preparing for the nobler pile, which
had so long been the ornament and pride of the now rapidly
desolated district.

Prompt and speedy movements were still essential to his complete
success : he had struck a flying blow, and it was necessary to retire
before the more inland regions could be aroused to unite with the
forces of the Lynx and Anak, and dispute his egress from the country.
The wounded prisoners were removed to that portion of the barracks
which it had been determined to spare for their benefit, and the
ladies and priests having been allowed to remove their effects, such
of the residue of the property as was portable, Avas speedily taken
possession of by the soldiery, and then the devom-ing flame was
communicated at once by a score of willing hands to as many different
parts of the edifice.

From a little distance, the now re-forming army of invaders
watched the progress of the fire, while preparing to withdraw from
the scene of their devastations — and in another part of the trampled
and blood-stained court, near the spared building, were assembled
the mournful group who had been set at hberty by their captor, and
who, being yet unprepared to depart, remained unwilling spectators
of the melancholy scene. Henrich was with these, once more at the
side of Blanche as her friend and adviser, having obtained his full
liberty by the courtesy of the English commander ; yet he was not
without apprehension that the withdrawal of the army would be the
signal for the return of his rival from some lurking-place in the
wilderness. Such an event might render his own position highly
perilous in a territory where the count's authority would now perhaps
be temporarily rectgnised, and the more by reason of his own recent
and unreversed sentence of banishment, and the suspicions to w^hich



SIO THE KING OF THE HURONS.

he had rendered himself hable of ha\ang ad\'ised and abetted the
invaders.

But Carlton was not in the wilderness. He had heard, with
unspeakable terror, his name excepted in the ofiered terms of quarter
made by the English commander ; he had heard these terms repeated
with the same explicit and fearful reservation ; had listened to the
hoarse shouts of the soldiery applauding his anticipated doom, and
had felt, at that moment, in his coward and guilty breast, more than
the pains of death. For a while, encouraged by the confident
language of Montaigne, he had hoped for victory, and dreading the
baron's wrath and scorn for pusillanimity, had made some feint of
aiding in the contest at points where the danger was least. As the
battle went on, and its issue became more certain, he had sought to
flee, but his frightened imagination had peopled the whole court with
\dgilant guards watching to intercept him, and he did not dare to
venture forth. Too frantic for reflection, he yet remembered a secret
room and its ingeniously contrived entrance which had once been
shown to hmi by Montaigne, and he hastened to make it at least a
temporary refuge.

In an upper chamber, a large iron chandelier was suspended from
a circular panneling in the ceihng ; seemingly immovable, it could
yet be drawn down by touching a spring at the end of the rod which
supported it, and with it descended not only the panelhng to which
it was attached, but an extending ladder of rope, forming an en-
trance into a room above, to which there was no other access. AVhen
the ponderous chandelier was drawn back to its place, and the fast-
ening adjusted, there was no longer any trace of the passage, and
the upper apartment, which was small, was also unexposed to obser-
vation from without, being lighted and ventilated only by a small
window in the roof.

To this retreat Carlton, in his terror, had fled^o avoid the imme-
diate danger, for he rightly conjectm-ed that the fii'st movement that
followed victory would be a vigorous and diligent search for him.



THE KING OF THE HURdNS. 311

He had intended to descend during the night, and in disguise or other-
wise, attempt an escape to the forest ; but this design was defeated
by an unexpected occurrence. The chamber with which his hiding-
phice communicated was appropriated, after the engagement, to the
use of several of the wounded Enghsh soldiers, a circumstance which
their voices and groans plainly proclaimed to the entrapped count.
To discover himself to these, who imputed all their injury to his per-
fidy, would be a betrayal to certain death. It was late in the morn-
ing when they were removed, and then the precincts of the castle
were swarming with the foreign soldiery, and flight was still impos-
sible ; he remained half senseless in his retreat, hoping against hope
for the several contingencies which might yet save him. The enemy
might be attacked and driven off by the Indians ; they might not
destroy the castle, or they might only set fire to it and depart, with-
out waiting to see it consumed, and thus afford him an opportunity
of escape.

These, with other hope-woven fallacies, occupied his mind for a
while, and were only dispelled by the smell of fire, by the crackling
sound of its progress, and by the thin wreaths of smoke which began
to force themselves up through the floor of his apartment. Ap-
palled, he flew to the passage, and opening it, was met by a stifling
current of heated air ; the room was in flames ; he could not de-
scend but to instant suffocation. Closing the aperture, he piled the
scant furniture of his room together, and from the summit of the
heap reached the skylight, and dashing it open climbed to the roof,
at once discovering the assembled multitude below, and revealing
himself to their view. A shout fi-om the soldiery announced his ap-
pearance, but the spectacle was too awful for exultation ; the circling
smoke was already enveloping his figure, as he hastily traversed the
summit of the building and approached its edge, now brushing the
bhnding clouds from before him, and now extending his arms, as if
imploring pity and aid from those who had no power to assist him.

Horror held motionless the beholders ; but Myrtle, with a piercing



312 THE KING OP THE HURONS.

shriek, darted from the side of her friends, and rushing towards the
main entrance of the castle, disappeared within the burning pile.
The distracted baroness followed with faltering steps, but a score of
soldiers, obeying not less the impulse of their own hearts than the
quick signal of the officer, sprang past her and reached the doorway,
though only to battle for a moment with the heated vapors that en-
countered them, and fall back proclaiming the impossibility of res-
cue. As they retreated, however, a young Mohaw^k brave sped past
them at a bound, and entered the hall. Unbreathing, to avoid the
stifling air, he groped for the main stairway, which he rightly judged
Myrtle had attempted to ascend, and, mounting its hot steps, gained
the first landing, and saw the white robes of the prostrate maiden
before him. To seize the light burden and bear it back to the outer
air was but the work of a second, and the prolonged shouts of the
spectators spoke their gratification, and their applause of the heroic
deed.

Myrtle was borne senseless into the barracks by her anxious
fi-iends, and the attention of the throng, momentarily diverted by
this frightful episode, was again given to the unhappy Carlton. He
now stood at the edge of the parapet which overlooked that part of
the court where the people were assembled, and seemed to contem-
plate a leap from his dizzy height. Now he shouted for help — for a
ladder — for a rope — for something to break his fall ; now he ran
back and looked vainly into the aperture through which he had
ascended, and anon he sought to gain the less elevated roof of a
wing of the building, but was prevented by the flames, wlfich had
already broken forth in that direction. While he hoped, and hesi-
tated, and despaired, a thick column of smoke, spangled with spark-
ling cinders, rolled towards him, and enveloping his figure in its
murky pall, concealed it fr'om the view of the horrified spectators.
A half-stifled cry proceeded from the midst of the whirling mass,
w^iich, growing blacker and blacker with continued accessions, and
rising higher and higher into the air, seemed like one of the genii of



THE KING OF THE HURONS. 313

oriental fable, released from the confinement of centuries, and ex-
panding its gigantic bulk above the diminutive prison in which it
had been so long compressed. JSTow reveahng, through its rent
folds its staggering victim, and now closing again around him, it
moved, with solemn gyrations, slowly onward, and passing, at length,
left the unhappy man prostrate in its path, struggling, but vainly
attempting to rise.

An Indian chief who stood by the side of Major Bain, whispered
a moment to the latter, who, unreplying, turned away with an
agitated air, and the savage, taking his silence for assent to his really
humane proposition, passed a brief word of command to a small
di^^sion of his men. A dozen rifles were raised simultaneously, and
as their sharp report rang upon the air, the body of the count rolled
lifeless down a shght descent of the roof, to a point where the greedy
flames were raging and raged higher as they received it. He had
passed from earth, and his ungathered ashes mingled with those of
his lofty faneral pyre.

In another hour the triumphing army had vanished from the
scene of their victory, and were rapidly pursuing their homeward
route; they were accompanied by the Hberated Seabury, who,
having been at large on his parole, had taken no part in the combat,
although his soldier spirit had chafed at the intangible fetters which
restrained him from doing so.

Myrtle's injuries proved severe, and the intelligence of Carlton's
fate gave a shock to her mind, which added greatly to her sufferings,
and increased the peril of her situation. For several days the fair
patient remained an inmate of an apartment in the barracks,
attended with kindness and solicitude by her friends, who waited
only her convalescence to quit for ever a spot rife with the memory
of so many tragedies. Their anxious hopes in her behalf were not
disappointed, and on the third day they were enabled to set out in
boats, for Montreal, accompanied by several of the returned Hurons
as guides and assistants. The baron's remains, in the intf'rval. bad

14



314 THE KING OF THE HURONS.

been interred within the undemolished walls of his ruined castle,
Blanche having been prevailed on with difficulty to relinquish the
idea of transporting the body over their long and difficult journey.
The priests remained at their post faithful to the wounded men in
their charge, of whom several were evidently destined to require the
last consolations of rehgion and the solemn rites of sepulture at their
hands.

From such a scene of ruin and misery went Blanche and Henrich,
with Emily, Myrtle, and the baroness ; their tears were many, and
their hearts were sad, some with their own bitter grie^ and some
with sympathetic sorrow.



THE KINO OF THE HUR0N8. 315



CHAPTER XXXVI.



She is mine own,



And I as rich in having such a jewel.

As twenty seas, if all their sands were pearl.

The water nectar, and the rocks pure gold." — Shakspeare.

The Marquis Vaudreuil received early intelligence of the disas-
trous blow which had been inflicted upon the province of New
France, and having heard that the family of his deceased friend had
taken refuge at Montreal, he promptly despatched a vessel to that
post, to convey them to the capital, where a fitting home was mean-
while prepared for their reception. He did not grieve deeply over
the loss of Carlton, whose evil reputation had followed him from
Paris, and had recently reached the ears of the deceived and indig-
nant viceroy, causing him deeply to regret his agency in commend-
ing his nephew to the good will of the baron.

Months passed away, during which Huntington, who had ac-
companied his friends to Quebec, continued a resident of that city,
and an ever- welcomed friend and visitor of Miss Montaigne. They
were speedily betrothed, and ere yet the autumn had fully passed,
Henrich, unwiUing that Blanche should spend the wintry season in a
clime so ungenial, had obtained her consent to an immediate union,
with a view to a journey to England and a sojourn until spring,
amid its milder airs. Tf inducements were needed, none could have
been presented to Blanche's mind of greater efiicacy ; already had
she pined, with that love of country which forms so commendable
a trait in almost every heart, to tread again the green soil and gaze
upon the bright landscapes which had been familiar to her child-



316 THE KING OF THE HURONS.

hood, and which were ever dear to memory. They were married
witlioiit ostentation, at the mansion of the marquis, who, finding his
efforts to prolong their stay in Quebec useless, desired, with charac-
teristic kindness, to give his especial sanction to their union, and to
retain the bi-idal party, at least for the first happy week, under his
hospitable roof.

Emily, of course, was to return with them, and Blanche, who had
acquired the most sisterly feeling for Myrtle, spared no pains to
induce her also to accompany them, but neither the baroness nor
Vaudreuil would consent to such a deprivation. The marquis, in-
deed, who had consented to administer upon the large estate of his
friend for the benefit of the heirs, urged that her presence in the
province might be essential to his labors, and offered both herself and
her mother a welcome home in his own house. This kindness was
accepted for the time, and the sisters parted with mutual tears and
regret, for although their acquaintance had been brief, the extraor-
dinary events through which they had passed had served to rapidly
develope their respective characters, and a communion of suffering
had endeared them to each other.

Henrich, Blanche, and Emily sailed for Havre, and having reached
that port in safety, they passed into the Netherlands, and thence
crossed to England. In the ensuing summer they returned to New
York, where they took up their abode, greatly to the dehght of old
Jacobus, who had never ceased to reflect over his semi-hourly pipe,
upon his interview with the baffled ensign, and upon the happy
train of smoke-generated ideas which had resulted in the despatch
of Harry and Ruppy to warn the forest fugitives of their danger.

Myrtle continued to reside with the marquis, the object of much
unheeded admiration, and a mourner in heart, although not in
apparel, for the unworthy Carlton. The decease of her mother, three
years later, left her still more desolate, and peace having then been
established between France and England, she accepted an earnest
invitation from Blanche and Henrich to remove to New York, and



THE KING OF THE HUR0N8. 3lY

make their house her future home. There she became contented and
cheerful : her heart was gradually weaned from the memory of its
misapplied affection, and she became at the age of twenty-three, the
happy wife of a young- English gentleman, of great worth, who
knew her whole history, and whose attachment for her was un-
bounded.

Miss Roselle remained a welcome inmate of Henrich's family, and,
professedly from choice, a member of the single sisterhood ; having
rehnquished, with her matrimonial aspirations, her airs and affecta-
tion, it is not improbable indeed that she may have found admu-ei-s
among the many \nsiters of her cousins, but none, it appeared, who
possessed sufficient attractions to tempt her from what she called her
chosen path of cehbacy.

The cessation of hostilities between the provinces enabled Henrich
to visit Quebec, and render more fully available to Blanche and
Myrtle their large property, of which the marquis was found to have
proved a faithful steward. There he heard of the welfare of the
Lynx and Anak, for whom, in token of his regard, he left highly
valuable presents, of the kind most Ukely to suit their tastes:
including among the gifts to the former, one which he knew would
be beyond pnce in his estimation. This was the enchanted rifle, so
called, of which, in his character as the Beaver, he had made such
effective use, and which he had now been careful to bring with him
for the benefit of his Indian friend.

The happiness of Henrich and Blanche remained unimpaired by
farther calamities ; if much suffering had been crowded into a short
period of their lives, it was followed by a long exemption from
trouble. They were not even annoyed by the continued abode, in
their \jcimty, of the evil man to whom so much of their misery, and
at the same time, so large a share of their felicity was owing, for in
the very year of their return to New York, Lord Cornbury was
removed from his office by his relative, the Queen, for official oppres-



318 THE KING OF THE HURONS.

sion and malconduct, and Grover, who was a satellite of the profligate
governor, returned with him to England.

Jacobus Waldron hved to the ripe age of ninety, and so happy
were his declining days rendered by the assiduous kindness of
" Hetty's Hanreek " as he was wont to call his grandson, that he
gradually ceased looking for that sudden influx of fortune which had
been all his lifetime on the eve of overwhelming him with its golden
waves. Nay, he began to suspect, ^^-ith the wisdom of age, that he
had already found more than his anticipated treasure in his faithful
and aftectionate children, and his changed hopes, placed now on
worthier objects than wealth, were looking beyond those solemn
portals which Death, with no forbidding aspect, stood ready to fling
open for his exit.

Harry Bolt returned with the army of Major Bain, which did not
succeed in escaping from the French territory ^^thout some marks of
the vengeance of the Lynx and Anak, who, rallying their scattered
warriors, intercepted the invaders on the banks of the Sorelle, and
caused them no little damage. The chief triumph of the Indians,



Online LibraryP. Hamilton (Peter Hamilton) MyersThe King of the Hurons → online text (page 25 of 29)