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D'Ri and I by Irving Bacheller

Part 4 out of 4

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"Your sword, sir!" it commanded.

"Stop," said I, sharply, coming near.

There stood my father in the lantern-light, his sword drawn, his
gray hair stirring in the breeze. Before him was my old adversary,
his Lordship, sword in hand. Near by, the squad of British, now
surrounded, were giving up their arms. They had backed to the
river's edge; I could hear it lapping their heels. His Lordship
sneered, looking at the veteran who stood in a gray frock of
homespun, for all the world, I fancy, like one of those old yeomen
who fought with Cromwell.

"Your sword, sir," my father repeated.

"Pardon me," said the young man, with a fascinating coolness of
manner, "but I shall have to trouble you--"

He hesitated, feeling his blade.

"How?" said my father.

"To fight for it," said his Lordship, quietly.

"Surrender--fool!" my father answered. "You cannot escape."

"Tut, tut!" said his Lordship. "I never heard so poor a
compliment. Come in reach, and I shall make you think better of

"Give up your sword."

"After my life, then my sword," said he, with a quick thrust.

Before I could take a step, their swords were clashing in deadly
combat. I rushed up to break in upon them, but the air was full of
steel, and then my father needed no help. He was driving his man
with fiery vigor. I had never seen him fight; all I had seen of
his power had been mere play.

It was grand to see the old man fighting as if, for a moment, his
youth had come back to him. I knew it could not go far. His fire
would burn out quickly; then the blade of the young Britisher,
tireless and quick as I knew it to be, would let his blood before
my very eyes. What to do I knew not. Again I came up to them; but
my father warned me off hotly. He was fighting with terrific
energy. I swear to you that in half a minute he had broken the
sword of his Lordship, who took to the water, swimming for his
life. I leaped in, catching him half over the eddy, where we
fought like roadmen, striking in the air and bumping on the bottom.
We were both near drowned when D'ri swam out and gave me his
belt-end, hauling us in.

I got to my feet soon. My father came up to me, and wiped a cut
on my forehead.

"Damn you, my boy!" said he. "Don't ever interfere with me in a
matter of that kind. You might have been hurt."

We searched the island, high and low, for the ladies, but with no
success. Then we marched our prisoners to the south channel, where
a bateau--the same that brought us help--had been waiting. One of
our men had been shot in the shoulder, another gored in the hip
with a bayonet, and we left a young Briton dead on the shore. We
took our prisoners to Paleyville, and locked them overnight in the

The channel was lighted by a big bonfire on the south bank, as we
came over. Its flames went high, and made a great, sloping volcano
of light in the darkness.

After the posting of the guard, some gathered about my father and
began to cheer him. It nettled the veteran. He would take no
honor for his defeat of the clever man, claiming the latter had no
chance to fight.

"He had no foot-room with the boy one side and D'ri t' other," said
he. "I had only to drive him back."

My father and the innkeeper and D'ri and I sat awhile, smoking, in
the warm glow of the bonfire.

"You 're a long-headed man," said I, turning to my comrade.

"Kind o' thought they'd be trouble," said D'ri. "So I tuk 'n ast
yer father t' come over hossback with hef a dozen good men. They
got three more et the tavern here, an' lay off 'n thet air bateau,
waitin' fer the moosecall. I cal'lated I did n't want no more
slidin' over there 'n Canady."

After a little snicker, he added: "Hed all 't wus good fer me the
las' time. 'S a leetle tew swift."

"Gets rather scary when you see the bushes walk," I suggested.

"Seen whut wus up 'fore ever they med a move," said D'ri. "Them
air bushes did n't look jest es nat'ral es they'd orter. Bet ye
they're some o' them bushwhackers o' Fitzgibbon. Got loops all
over their uniforms, so ye c'u'd stick 'em full o' boughs.
Jerushy! never see nuthin' s' joemightful cur'us 'n all my born
days--never." He stopped a breath, and then added: "Could n't be
nuthin' cur'user 'n thet."


We hired team and wagon of the innkeeper, and a man to paddle
up-river and return with the horses.

I had a brief talk with our tall prisoner while they were making

"A word of business, your Lordship," I said as he came out,
yawning, with the guard.

"Ah, well," said he, with a shiver, "I hope it is not so cold as
the air."

"It is hopeful; it is cheering," was my answer.

"And the topic?"

"An exchange--for the ladies."

He thought a moment, slapping the dust off him with a glove.

"This kind of thing is hard on the trousers," he remarked
carelessly. "I will consider; I think it could be arranged.
Meanwhile, I give you my word of honor, you need have no worry."

We were off at daybreak with our prisoners; there were six of them
in all. We put a fold of linen over the eyes of each, and roped
them all together, so that they could sit or stand, as might please
them, in the wagonbox.

"It's barbarity," said his Lordship, as we put on the fold. "You
Yankees never knew how to treat a prisoner."

"Till you learnt us," said D'ri, quickly. "Could n't never fergit
thet lesson. Ef I hed my way 'bout you, I 'd haul ye up t' th' top
o' thet air dead pine over yender, 'n' let ye slide down."

"Rather too steep, I should say," said his Lordship, wearily.

"Ye wouldn't need no grease," said D'ri, with a chuckle.

We were four days going to the Harbor. My father and his men came
with us, and he told us many a tale, that journey, of his
adventures in the old war. We kept our promise, turning over the
prisoners a little before sundown of the 16th. Each was given a
great room and every possible comfort. I arranged soon for the
release of all on the safe return of the ladies.

In the evening of the 17th his Lordship sent for me. He was a bit
nervous, and desired a conference with the general and me. De
Chaumont had been over to the headquarters that day in urgent
counsel. He was weary of delay and planning an appeal to the
French government. General Brown was prepared to give the matter
all furtherance in his power, and sent quickly for the Englishman.
They brought him over at nine o'clock. We uncovered his eyes and
locked the door, and "gave him a crack at the old Madeira," as they
used to say, and made him as comfortable as might be at the cheery
fireside of the general.

"I've been thinking," said his Lordship. after a drink and a word
of courtesy. I never saw a man of better breeding or more courage,
I am free to say. "You may not agree it is possible, but, anyhow,
I have been trying to think. You have been decent to me. I don't
believe you are such a bad lot, after all; and while I should be
sorry to have you think me tired of your hospitality, I desire to
hasten our plans a little. I propose an exchange of--of--"

He hesitated, whipping the ashes off his cigar.

"Well--first of confidence," he went on. "I will take your word if
you will take mine."

"In what matter?" the general inquired.

"That of the ladies and their relief," said he. "A little
confidence will--will--"

"Grease the wheels of progress?" the general suggested, smiling.

"Quite so," he answered lazily. "To begin with, they are not
thirty miles away, if I am correct in my judgment of this locality."

There was a moment of silence.

"My _dear_ sir," he went on presently, "this ground is quite
familiar to me. I slept in this very chamber long ago. But that
is not here nor there. Day after to-morrow, a little before
midnight, the ladies will be riding on the shore pike. You could
meet them and bring them out to a schooner, I suppose--if--"

He stopped again, puffing thoughtfully.

"If we could agree," he went on. "Now this would be my view of it:
You let me send a messenger for the ladies. You would have to take
them by force somehow; but, you know, I could make it easy--arrange
the time and place, no house near, no soldiers, no resistence but
that of the driver, who should not share our confidence--no danger.
You take them to the boats and bring them over; but, first--"

He paused again, looking at the smokerings above his head in a
dreamy manner.

"'First,'" my chief repeated.

"Well," said he, leaning toward him with a little gesture, "to me
the word of a gentleman is sacred. I know you are both gentlemen.
I ask for your word of honor."

"To what effect?" the general queried.

"That you will put us safely on British soil within a day after the
ladies have arrived," said he.

"It is irregular and a matter of some difficulty," said the
general. "Whom would you send with such a message?"

"Well, I should say some Frenchwoman could do it. There must be
one here who is clever enough."

"I know the very one," said I, with enthusiasm. "She is as smart
and cunning as they make them."

"Very well," said the general; "that is but one step. Who is to
capture them and take the risk of their own heads?"

"D'ri and I could do it alone," was my confident answer.

"Ah, well," said his Lordship, as he rose languidly and stood with
his back to the fire, "I shall send them where the coast is
clear--my word for that. Hang me if I fail to protect them."

"I do not wish to question your honor," said the general, "or
violate in any way this atmosphere of fine courtesy; but, sir, I do
not know you."

"Permit me to introduce myself," said the Englishman, as he ripped
his coat-lining and drew out a folded sheet of purple parchment.

"I am Lord Ronley, fifth Earl of Pickford, and, cousin of his Most
Excellent Majesty the King of England; there is the proof."

He tossed the parchment to the table carelessly, resuming his chair.

"Forgive me," said he, as the general took it. "I have little
taste for such theatricals. Necessity is my only excuse."

"It is enough," said the other. "I am glad to know you. I hope
sometime we shall stop fighting each other--we of the same race and
blood. It is unnatural."

"Give me your hand," said the Englishman, with heartier feeling
than I had seen him show, as he advanced. "Amen! I say to you."

"Will you write your message? Here are ink and paper," said the

His Lordship sat down at the table and hurriedly wrote these

"PRESCOTT, ONTARIO, November 17, 1813.

"To SIR CHARLES GRAVLEIGH, The Weirs, above Landsmere, Wrentham,
Frontenac County, Canada.

"MY DEAR GRAVLEIGH: Will you see that the baroness and her two
wards, the Misses de Lambert, are conveyed by my coach, on the
evening of the 18th inst, to that certain point on the shore pike
between Amsbury and Lakeside known as Burnt Ridge, there to wait
back in the timber for my messenger? Tell them they are to be
returned to their home, and give them my very best wishes. Lamson
will drive, and let the bearer ride with the others.

"Very truly yours,

_To whom it may concern_.

"Mme. St. Jovite, the bearer, is on her way to my house at
Wrentham, Frontenac County, second concession, with a despatch of
urgent character. I shall be greatly favored by all who give her
furtherance in this journey.

"Respectfully, etc.,
"Colonel of King's Guard."

For fear of a cipher, the general gave tantamount terms for each
letter, and his Lordship rewrote them.

"I thought the name St. Jovite would be as good as any," he

The rendezvous was carefully mapped. The guard came, and his
Lordship rose languidly.

"One thing more," said he. "Let the men go over without
arms--if--if you will be so good."

"I shall consider that," said the general.

"And when shall the messenger start?"

"Within the hour, if possible," my chief answered.

As they went away, the general sat down with me for a moment, to
discuss the matter.


Herein is the story of the adventures of his Lordship's courier,
known as Mme. St. Jovite, on and after the night of November 17,
1813, in Upper Canada. This account may be accepted as quite
trustworthy, its writer having been known to me these many years,
in the which neither I nor any of my friends have had occasion to
doubt her veracity. The writer gave more details than are
desirable, but the document is nothing more than a letter to an
intimate friend. I remember well she had an eye for color and a
taste for description not easy to repress.

When I decided to go it was near midnight, The mission was not all
to my taste, but the reward was handsome and the letter of Lord
Ronley reassuring. I knew I could do it, and dressed as soon as
possible and walked to the Lone Oak, a sergeant escorting. There,
as I expected, the big soldier known as D'ri was waiting, his canoe
in a wagon that stood near. We all mounted the seat, driving
pell-mell on a rough road to Tibbals Point, on the southwest corner
of Wolf Island. A hard journey it was, and near two o'clock, I
should say, before we put our canoe in the water. Then the man
D'ri helped me to an easy seat in the bow and shoved off. A full
moon, yellow as gold, hung low in the northwest. The water was
calm, and we cut across "the moon way," that funnelled off to the
shores of Canada.

"It is one ver' gran' night," I said in my dialect of the rude
Canuck; for I did not wish him, or any one, to know me. War is
war, but, surely, such adventures are not the thing for a woman.

"Yis, mahm," he answered, pushing hard with the paddle. "Yer a
friend o' the cap'n, ain't ye--Ray Bell?"

"Ze captain? Ah, oui, m'sieu'," I said. "One ver' brave man,
ain't it?"

"Yis, mahm," said he, soberly and with emphasis. "He 's more 'n a
dozen brave men, thet's whut he is. He's a joemightyful cuss.
Ain't nuthin' he can't dew--spryer 'n a painter, stouter 'n a
moose, an' treemenjous with a sword."

The moon sank low, peering through distant tree-columns, and went
out of sight. Long stubs of dead pine loomed in the dim, golden
afterglow, their stark limbs arching high in the heavens--like
mullions in a great Gothic window.

"When we git nigh shore over yender," said my companion, "don't
believe we better hev a grea' deal t' say. I ain't a-goin' t' be
tuk--by a jugful--not ef I can help it. Got me 'n a tight place
one night here 'n Canady."

"Ah, m'sieu', in Canada! How did you get out of it?" I queried.

"Slipped out," said he, shaking the canoe with suppressed laughter.
"Jes' luk a streak o' greased lig-htnin'," he added presently.

"The captain he seems ver' anxious for me to mak' great hurry," I

"No wonder; it's his lady-love he 's efter--faster 'n a weasel t'
see 'er," said he, snickering.

"Good-looking?" I queried.

"Han'some es a pictur'," said he, soberly.

In a moment he dragged his paddle, listening.

"Thet air's th' shore over yender," he whispered. "Don't say a
word now. I 'll put ye right on the p'int o' rocks. Creep 'long
careful till ye git t' th' road, then turn t' th' left, the cap'n
tol' me."

When I stepped ashore my dress caught the gunwale and upset our
canoe. The good man rolled noisily into the water, and rose
dripping. I tried to help him.

"Don't bother me--none," he whispered testily, as if out of
patience, while he righted the canoe.

When at last he was seated again, as I leaned to shove him off, he
whispered in a compensating, kindly manner: "When ye 're goin'
ashore, an' they 's somebody 'n the canoe, don't never try t' tek
it with ye 'less ye tell 'im yer goin' tew."

There was a deep silence over wood and water, but he went away so
stealthily I could not hear the stir of his paddle. I stood
watching as he dimmed off in the darkness, going quickly out of
sight. Then I crept over the rocks and through a thicket,
shivering, for the night had grown chilly. I snagged my dress on a
brier every step, and had to move by inches. After mincing along
half an hour or so, I came where I could feel a bit of clear earth,
and stood there, dancing on my tiptoes, in the dark, to quicken my
blood a little. Presently the damp light of dawn came leaking
through the tree-tops. I heard a rattling stir in the bare limbs
above me. Was it some monster of the woods? Although I have more
courage than most women, it startled me, and I stood still. The
light came clearer; there was a rush toward me that shook the
boughs. I peered upward. It was only a squirrel, now scratching
his ear, as he looked down at me. He braced himself, and seemed to
curse me loudly for a spy, trembling with rage and rushing up and
down the branch above me. Then all the curious, inhospitable folk
of the timber-land came out upon their towers to denounce.

I made my way over the rustling, brittle leaves, and soon found a
trail that led up over high land. I followed it for a matter of
some minutes, and came to the road, taking my left-hand way, as
they told me. There was no traveller in sight. I walked as fast
as I could, passing a village at sunrise, where I asked my way in
French at a smithy. Beyond there was a narrow clearing, stumpy and
rank with briers, on the up-side of the way. Presently, looking
over a level stretch, I could see trees arching the road again,
from under which, as I was looking, a squad of cavalry came out in
the open. It startled me. I began to think I was trapped, I
thought of dodging into the brush. But, no; they had seen me, and
I would be a fool now to turn fugitive. I looked about me. Cows
were feeding near. I picked up a stick and went deliberately into
the bushes, driving one of them to the pike and heading her toward
them. They went by at a gallop, never pulling up while in sight of
me. Then I passed the cow and went on, stopping an hour later at a
lonely log house, where I found French people, and a welcome that
included moose meat, a cup of coffee, and fried potatoes. Leaving,
I rode some miles with a travelling tinker, a voluble, well-meaning
youth who took a liking for me, and went far out of his way to help
me on. He blushed proudly when, stopping to mend a pot for the
cook at a camp of militia, they inquired if I was his wife.

"No; but she may be yet," said he; "who knows?"

I knew it was no good place for me, and felt some relief when the
young man did me this honor. From that moment they set me down for
a sweetheart.

"She 's too big for you, my boy," said the general, laughing.

"The more the better," said he; "can't have too much of a good

I said little to him as we rode along. He asked for my address,
when I left him, and gave me the comforting assurance that he would
see me again. I made no answer, leaving him at a turn where, north
of us, I could see the white houses of Wrentham. Kingston was hard
by, its fort crowning a hill-top by the river.

It was past three by a tower clock at the gate of the Weirs when I
got there. A driveway through tall oaks led to the mansion of dark
stone. Many acres of park and field and garden were shut in with
high walls. I rang a bell at the small gate, and some fellow in
livery took my message.

"Wait 'ere, my lass," said he, with an English accent. "I 'll go
at once to the secretary."

I sat in a rustic chair by the gate-side, waiting for that

"Ah, come in, come in," said he, coolly, as he opened the gate a

He said nothing more, and I followed him--an oldish man with gray
eyes and hair and side-whiskers, and neatly dressed, his head
covered to the ears with a high hat, tilted backward. We took a
stone path, and soon entered a rear door.

"She may sit in the servants' hall," said he to one of the maids,

They took my shawl, as he went away, and showed me to a room where,
evidently, the servants did their eating. They were inquisitive,
those kitchen maids, and now and then I was rather put to it for a
wise reply. I said as little as might be, using the dialect, long
familiar to me, of the French Canadian. My bonnet amused them. It
was none too new or fashionable, and I did not remove it.

"Afraid we 'll steal it," I heard one of them whisper in the next
room. Then there was a loud laugh.

They gave me a French paper. I read every line of it, and sat
looking out of a window at the tall trees, at servants who passed
to and fro, at his Lordship's horses, led up and down for exercise
in the stable-yard, at the twilight glooming the last pictures of a
long day until they were all smudged with darkness. Then
candle-light, a trying supper hour with maids and cooks and grooms
and footmen at the big table, English, every one of them, and set
up with haughty curiosity. I would not go to the table, and had a
cup of tea and a biscuit there in my corner. A big butler walked
in hurriedly awhile after seven. He looked down at me as if I
were the dirt of the gutter.

"They 're waitin'," said he, curtly. "An' Sir Chawles would like
to know if ye would care for a humberreller?"

"Ah, m'sieu'! he rains?" I inquired.

"No, mum."

"Ah! he is going to rain, maybe?"

He made no answer, but turned quickly and went to a near closet,
from which he brought a faded umbrella.

"There," said he, as he led me to the front door, "see that you
send it back."

On the porch were the secretary and the ladies--three of them.

"Ciel! what is it?" one of them whispered as I came out.

The post-lights were shining in their faces, and lovelier I never
saw than those of the demoiselles. They stepped lightly to the
coach, and the secretary asked if I would go in with them.

"No, m'sieu'," was my answer; "I sit by ze drivaire."

"Come in here, you silly goose," said one of the ladies in French,
recognizing my nationality.

"Grand merci!" I said, taking my seat by the driver; and then we
were off, with as lively a team as ever carried me, our lights
flashing on the tree trunks. We had been riding more than two
hours when we stopped for water at a spring-tub under a hill. They
gave me a cup, and, for the ladies, I brought each a bumper of the
cool, trickling flood.

"Ici, my tall woman," said one of them, presently, "my boot is

Her dainty foot came out of the coach door under ruffles of silk.
I hesitated, for I was not accustomed to that sort of service.

"Lambine!" she exclaimed. "Make haste, will you?" her foot moving

My fingers had got numb in the cold air, and I must have been very
awkward, for presently she boxed my ears and drew her foot away.

"Dieu!" said she. "Tell him to drive on."

I got to my seat quickly, confident that nature had not intended me
for a lady's-maid. Awhile later we heard the call of a picket far
afield, but saw no camp. A horseman--I thought him a cavalry
officer--passed us, flashing in our faces the light of a dark
lantern, but said nothing. It must have been near midnight when,
as we were going slowly through deep sand, I heard the clang of a
cow-bell in the near darkness. Another sounded quickly a bit
farther on. The driver gave no heed to it, although I recognized
the signal, and knew something would happen shortly. We had come
into the double dark of the timber when, suddenly, our horses
reared, snorting, and stopped. The driver felt for his big pistol,
but not in the right place; for two hours or more it had been
stowed away in the deep pocket of my gown. Not a word was spoken.
By the dim light of the lanterns we could see men all about us with
pikes looming in the dark. For a breath or two there was perfect
silence; then the driver rose quickly and shouted: "Who are you?"

"Frien's o' these 'ere women," said one I recognized as the
Corporal D'ri.

He spoke in a low tone as he opened the door.

"Grace au ciel!" I heard one of the young ladies saying. "It is
D'ri--dear old fellow!"

Then they all hurried out of the coach and kissed him.

"The captain--is he not here?" said one of them in French. But
D'ri did not understand them, and made no answer.

"Out wi' the lights, an' be still," said D'ri, quickly, and the
lights were out as soon as the words. "Jones, you tie up a front
leg o' one o' them hosses. Git back in the brush, ladies. Five on
'em, boys. Now up with the pike wall!"

From far back in the road had come again the clang of the cow-bell.
I remember hearing five strokes and then a loud rattle. In a
twinkling I was off the seat and beside the ladies.

"Take hold of my dress," I whispered quickly, "and follow me."

I led them off in the brush, and stopped. We could hear the move
and rattle of cavalry in the near road. Then presently the swish
of steel, the leap and tumble of horses, the shouting of men. My
companions were of the right stuff; they stood shivering, but held
their peace. Out by the road lights were flashing, and now we
heard pistols and the sound of a mighty scuffle. I could stay
there in the dark no longer.

"Wait here, and be silent," I said, and ran "like a madwoman," as
they told me long after, for the flickering lights.

There a squad of cavalry was shut in by the pikes. Two troopers
had broken through the near line. One had fallen, badly hurt; the
other was sabre to sabre with the man D'ri. They were close up and
striving fiercely, as if with broadswords. I caught up the weapon
of the injured man, for I saw the Yankee would get the worst of it.
The Britisher had great power and a sabre quick as a cat's paw. I
could see the corporal was stronger, but not so quick and skilful.
As I stood by, quivering with excitement, I saw him get a slash in
the shoulder. He stumbled, falling heavily. Then quickly,
forgetting my sex, but not wholly, I hope, the conduct that becomes
a woman, I caught the point of the sabre, now poised to run him
through, with the one I carried. He backed away, hesitating, for
he had seen my hat and gown. But I made after him with all the
fury I felt, and soon had him in action. He was tired, I have no
doubt; anyway, I whirled his sabre and broke his hold, whipping it
to the ground. That was the last we saw of him, for he made off in
the dark faster than I could follow. The trouble was all over,
save the wound of the corporal, which was not as bad as I thought.
He was up, and one of them, a surgeon, was putting stitches in his
upper arm. Others were tying four men together with rope. Their
weapons were lying in a little heap near by. One of the British
was saying that Sir Charles Gravleigh had sent for them to ride
after the coach.

"Jerushy Jane Pepper!" said the man D'ri. "Never see no sech
wil'cat uv a woman es thet air."

I looked down at my gown; I felt of my hat, now hanging over one
ear. Sure enough, I was a woman.

"Who be ye, I 'd like t' know?" said the man D'ri.

"Ramon Bell--a Yankee soldier of the rank of captain," I said,
stripping off my gown. "But, I beg of you, don't tell the ladies I
was ever a woman."

"Judas Priest!" said D'ri, as he flung his well arm around me.


I felt foolish for a moment. I had careful plans for Mme. St.
Jovite. She would have vanished utterly on our return; so, I
fancy, none would have been the wiser. But in that brief sally I
had killed the madame; she could serve me no more. I have been
careful in my account of this matter to tell all just as it
happened, to put upon it neither more nor less of romantic color
than we saw. Had I the skill and license of a novelist, I could
have made much of my little mystery; but there are many now living
who remember all these things, and then, I am a soldier, and too
old for a new business. So I make as much of them as there was and
no more.

In private theatricals, an evening at the Harbor, I had won
applause with the rig, wig, and dialect of my trip to Wrentham
Square. So, when I proposed a plan to my friend the general,
urging the peril of a raw hand with a trust of so much importance,
he had no doubt of my ability.

I borrowed a long coat, having put off my dress, and, when all was
ready, went with a lantern to get the ladies. Louise recognized me

"Grace au ciel! le capitaine!" said she, running to meet me.

I dropped my lantern as we came face to face, and have ever been
glad of that little accident, for there in the dark my arms went
around her, and our lips met for a silent kiss full of history and
of holy confidence. Then she put her hand upon my face with a
gentle caressing touch, and turned her own away.

"I am very, very glad to see you," I said.

"Dieu!" said her sister, coming near, "we should be glad to see
you, if it were possible."

I lighted the lantern hurriedly.

"Ciel! the light becomes him," said Louison, her grand eyes aglow.

But before there was time to answer I had kissed her also.

"He is a bold thing," she added, turning soberly to the baroness.

"Both a bold and happy thing," I answered. "Forgive me. I should
not be so bold if I were not--well--insanely happy."

"He is only a boy," said the baroness, laughing as she kissed me.

"Poor little ingenu!" said Louison, patting my arm.

Louise, tall and lovely and sedate as ever, stood near me, primping
her bonnet.

"Little ingenu!" she repeated, with a faint laugh of irony as she
placed the dainty thing on her head.

"Well, what do _you_ think of him?" said Louison, turning to help

"Dieu! that he is very big and dreadful," said the other, soberly.
"I should think we had better be going."

These things move slowly on paper, but the greeting was to me
painfully short, there being of it not more than a minuteful, I
should say. On our way to the lights they plied me with whispered
queries, and were in fear of more fighting. The prisoners were now
in the coach, and our men--there were twelve--stood on every side
of it, their pikes in hand. The boats were near, and we hurried to
the river by a toteway. Our schooner lay some twenty rods off a
point. A bateau and six canoes were waiting on the beach, and when
we had come to the schooner I unbound the prisoners.

"You can get ashore with this bateau," I said. "You will find the
horses tied to a tree."

"Wha' does thet mean?" said D'ri.

"That we have no right to hold them," was my answer. "Ronley was,
in no way responsible for their coming."

Leaning over the side with a lantern, while one of our men held the
bateau, I motioned to the coachman.

"Give that 'humberreller' to the butler, with my compliments," I

Our anchors up, our sails took the wind in a jiffy.

"Member how we used ye," D'ri called to the receding Britishers,
"an' ef ye ever meet a Yankee try t' be p'lite tew 'im."

Dawn had come before we got off at the Harbor dock. I took the
ladies to an inn for breakfast, wrote a report, and went for my
horse and uniform. General Brown was buttoning his suspenders when
they admitted me to his room.

"What luck, my boy?" said he.

"All have returned safely, including the ladies," I replied
quickly, "and I have the honor to submit a report."

He took a chair, and read the report carefully, and looked up at
me, laughing.

"What a lucky and remarkable young man!" said he. "I declare, you
should have lived in the Middle Ages."

"Ah, then I should not have enjoyed your compliments or your
friendship," was my answer.

He laughed again heartily.

"Nor the demoiselles'," said he. "I congratulate you. They are
the loveliest of their sex; but I'm sorry they're not Americans."

"Time enough. I have decided that one of them shall become an
American," said I, with all the confidence of youth.

"It is quite an undertaking," said he. "You may find new
difficulties. Their father is at the chateau."

"M'sieur de Lambert?" I exclaimed.

"M'sieur de Lambert. Came yesterday, via Montreal, with a fine
young nobleman--the Count Esmon de Brovel," said he. "You must
look out for him; he has the beauty of Apollo and the sword of a

"And I no fear of him," I answered soberly, with a quick sense of

"They rode over in the afternoon with Chaumont," he went on. "It
seems the young ladies' father, getting no news of them, had become
worried. Well, you may go and have three days for your fun; I
shall need you presently."

Breakfast over, I got a team for the ladies, and, mounting my own
horse, rode before them. I began to consider a very odd thing in
this love experience. While they were in captivity I had begun to
think less of Louison and more of Louise. In truth, one face had
faded a little in my memory; the other, somehow, had grown clearer
and sweeter, as if by a light borrowed from the soul behind it.
Now that I saw Louison, her splendid face and figure appealed to me
with all the power of old. She was quick, vivacious, subtle,
aggressive, cunning, aware and proud of her charms, and ever making
the most of them. She, ah, yes, she could play with a man for the
mere pleasure of victory, and be very heartless if--if she were not
in love with him. This type of woman had no need of argument to
make me feel her charms. With her the old doubt had returned to
me; for how long? I wondered. Her sister was quite her
antithesis--thoughtful, slow, serious, even-tempered, frank, quiet,
unconscious of her beauty, and with that wonderful thing, a voice
tender and low and sympathetic and full of an eloquence I could
never understand, although I felt it to my finger-tips. I could
not help loving her, and, indeed, what man with any life in him
feels not the power of such a woman? That morning, on the
woods-pike, I reduced the problem to its simplest terms: the one
was a physical type, the other a spiritual.

"M'sieur le Capitaine," said Louison, as I rode by the carriage,
"what became of the tall woman last night?"

"Left us there in the woods," I answered. "She was afraid of you."

"Afraid of me! Why?"

"Well, I understand that you boxed her ears shamefully."

A merry peal of laughter greeted my words.

"It was too bad; you were very harsh," said Louise, soberly.

"I could not help it; she was an ugly, awkward thing," said
Louison. "I could have pulled her nose'"

"And it seems you called her a geante also," I said. "She was
quite offended."

"It was a compliment," said the girl. "She was an Amazon--like the
count's statue of Jeanne d'Arc."

"Poor thing! she could not help it," said Louise.

"Well," said Louison, with a sigh of regret, "if I ever see her
again I shall give her a five-franc piece."

There was a moment of silence, and she broke it.

"I hope, this afternoon, you will let me ride that horse," said she.

"On one condition," was my reply.

"And it is--?"

"That you will let me ride yours at the same time."

"Agreed," was her answer. "Shall we go at three?"

"With the consent of the baroness and--and your father," I said.

"Father!" exclaimed the two girls. /

"Your father," I repeated. "He is now at the chateau."

"Heavens!" said Louison.

"What will he say?" said the baroness.

"I am so glad--my dear papa!" said Louise, clapping her hands.

We were out of the woods now, and could see the chateau in the


There was a dignity in the manners of M. de Lambert to me
formidable and oppressive. It showed in his tall, erect figure,
his deep tone, his silvered hair and mustache. There was a merry
word between the kisses of one daughter; between those of the other
only tears and a broken murmur.

"Oh, papa," said Louison, as she greeted him, "I do love you--but I
dread that--tickly old mustache. Mon Dieu! what a lover--you must
have been!"

Then she presented me, and put her hand upon my arm, looking
proudly at her father.

"My captain!" said she. "Did you ever see a handsomer Frenchman?"

"There are many, and here is one," said he, turning to the young
count, who stood behind him--a fine youth, tall, strong-built,
well-spoken, with blond hair and dark, keen eyes. I admit frankly
I had not seen a better figure of a man. I assure you, he had the
form of Hercules, the eye of Mars. It was an eye to
command--women; for I had small reason to admire his courage when I
knew him better. He took a hand of each young lady, and kissed it
with admirable gallantry.

"Dieu! it is not so easy always to agree with one's father," said

We went riding that afternoon--Therese and her marquis and Louison
and I. The first two went on ahead of us; we rode slowly, and for
a time no word was spoken. Winds had stripped the timber, and
swept its harvest to the walls and hollows, where it lay bleaching
in the sun. Birch and oak and maple were holding bared arms to the
wind, as if to toughen them for storm and stress. I felt a mighty
sadness, wondering if my own arms were quite seasoned for all that
was to come. The merry-hearted girl beside me was ever like a day
of June--the color of the rose in her cheek, its odor always in her
hair and lace. There was never an hour of autumn in her life.

"Alas, you are a very silent man!" said she, presently, with a
little sigh.

"Only thinking," I said.

"Of what?"

"Dieu! of the dead summer," I continued.

"Believe me, it does not pay to think," she interrupted. "I tried
it once, and made a sad discovery."

"Of what?"

"A fool!" said she, laughing.

"I should think it--it might have been a coquette," said I, lightly.

"Why, upon my word," said she, "I believe you misjudge me. Do you
think me heartless?"

For the first time I saw a shadow in her face.

"No; but you are young and--and beautiful, and--"

"What?" she broke in impatiently, as I hesitated. "I long to know."

"Men will love you in spite of all you can do," I added.

"Captain!" said she, turning her face away.

"Many will love you, and--and you can choose only one--a very hard
thing to do--possibly."

"Not hard," said she, "if I see the right one--and--and--he loves
me also."

I had kept myself well in hand, for I was full of doubts that day;
but the clever girl came near taking me, horse, foot, and guns,
that moment. She spoke so charmingly, she looked so winning, and
then, was it not easy to ask if I were the lucky one? She knew I
loved her, I knew that she had loved me, and I might as well
confess. But no; I was not ready.

"You must be stern with the others; you must not let them tell
you," I went on.

"Ciel!" said she, laughing, "one might as well go to a nunnery.
May not a girl enjoy her beauty? It is sweet to her."

"But do not make it bitter for the poor men. Dieu! I am one of
them, and know their sorrows."

"And you--you have been in love?"

"Desperately," I answered, clinging by the finger-tips. Somehow we
kept drifting into fateful moments when a word even might have
changed all that has been--our life way, the skies above us, the
friends we have known, our loves, our very souls.

She turned, smiling, her beauty flashing up at me with a power
quite irresistible. I shut my eyes a moment, summoning all my
forces. There was only a step between me and--God knows what!

"Captain, you are a foolish fellow," said she, with a little
shudder. "And I--well, I am cold. Parbleu! feel my hand."

She had drawn her glove quickly, and held out her hand, white and
beautiful, a dainty finger in a gorget of gems. That little cold,
trembling hand seemed to lay hold of my heart and pull me to her.
As my lips touched the palm I felt its mighty magic. Dear girl! I
wonder if she planned that trial for me.

"We must--ride--faster. You--you--are cold," I stammered.

She held her hand so that the sunlight flashed in the jewels, and
looked down upon it proudly.

"Do you think it beautiful?" she asked.

"Yes, and wonderful," I said. "But, mark me, it is all a sacred
trust--the beauty you have."


"More sacred than the power of kings," I said.

"Preacher!" said she, with a smile. "You should give yourself to
the church."

"I can do better with the sword of steel," I said.

"But do not be sad. Cheer up, dear fellow!" she went on, patting
my elbow with a pretty mockery. "We women are not--not so bad.
When I find the man I love--"

Her voice faltered as she began fussing with her stirrup.

I turned with a look of inquiry, changing quickly to one of

"I shall make him love me, if I can," she went on soberly.

"And if he does?" I queried, my blood quickening as our eyes met.

"Dieu! I would do anything for him," said she.

I turned away, looking off at the brown fields. Ah, then, for a
breath, my heart begged my will for utterance. The first word
passed my lips when there came a sound of galloping hoofs and
Theresa and the marquis.

"Come, dreamers," said the former, as they pulled up beside us. "A
cold dinner is the worst enemy of happiness."

"And he is the worst robber that shortens the hour of love," said
the marquis, smiling.

We turned, following them at a swift gallop. They had helped me
out of that mire of ecstasy, and now I was glad, for, on my soul, I
believed the fair girl had found one more to her liking, and was
only playing for my scalp. And at last I had begun to know my own
heart, or thought I had.

D'ri came over that evening with a letter from General Brown. He
desired me to report for duty next day at two.

"War--it is forever war," said Therese, when I told her at dinner.
"There is to be a coaching-party to-morrow, and we shall miss you,

"Can you not soon return?" said the baroness.

"I fear not," was my answer. "It is to be a long campaign."

"Oh, the war! When will it ever end?" said Louise, sighing.

"When we are all dead," said Louison.

"Of loneliness?" said the old count, with a smile.

"No; of old age," said Louison, quickly.

"When the army goes into Canada it will go into trouble," said the
Comte de Chaumont, speaking in French. "We shall have to get you
out of captivity, captain."

"Louise would rescue him," said her sister. "She has influence

"Would you pay my ransom?" I inquired, turning to her.

"With my life," said she, solemnly.

"Greater love hath no man than this," said the good Pere Joulin,
smiling as the others laughed.

"And none has greater obligation," said Louise, blushing with
embarrassment. "Has he not brought us three out of captivity?"

"Well, if I am taken," I said, "nothing can bring me back unless it

"A miracle?" the baroness prompted as I paused.

"Yes; even a resurrection," was my answer. "I know what it means
for a man to be captured there these days."

Louise sat beside me, and I saw what others failed to notice--her
napkin stop quickly on its way to her lips, her hand tighten as it
held the white linen. It made me regretful of my thoughtless
answer, but oddly happy for a moment. Then they all besought me
for some adventure of those old days in the army. I told them the
story of the wasps, and, when I had finished, our baroness told of
the trouble it led to--their capture and imprisonment.

"It was very strange," said she, in conclusion. "That Englishman
grew kinder every day we were there, until we began to feel at

They were all mystified, but I thought I could understand it. We
had a long evening of music, and I bade them all good-by before
going to bed, for they were to be off early.

Well, the morning came clear, and before I was out of bed I heard
the coach-horn, the merry laughter of ladies under my window, the
prancing hoofs, and the crack of the whip as they all went away.
It surprised me greatly to find Louise at the breakfast table when
I came below-stairs; I shall not try to say how much it pleased me.
She was gowned in pink, a red rose at her bosom. I remember, as if
it were yesterday, the brightness of her big eyes, the glow in her
cheeks, the sweet dignity of her tall, fine figure when she rose
and gave me her hand.

"I did feel sorry, ma'm'selle, that I could not go; but now--now I
am happy," was my remark.

"Oh, captain, you are very gallant," said she, as we took seats.
"I was not in the mood for merrymaking, and then, I am reading a

"A book! May its covers be the gates of happiness," I answered.

"Eh bien! it is a tale of love," said she.

"Of a man for a woman?" I inquired.

"Of a lady that loved two knights, and knew not which the better."

"Is it possible and--and reasonable?" I inquired. "In a tale
things should go as--well, as God plans them."

"Quite possible," said she, "for in such a thing as love who knows
what--what may happen?"

"Except he have a wide experience," I answered.

"And have God's eyes," said she. "Let me tell you. They were both
handsome, brave, splendid, of course, but there was a difference:
the one had a more perfect beauty of form and face, the other a
nobler soul."

"And which will she favor?"

"Alas! I have not read, and do not know her enough to judge," was
her answer; "but I shall hate her if she does not take him with the
better soul."

"And why?" I could hear my heart beating.

"Love is not love unless it be--" She paused, thinking. "Dieu!
from soul to soul," she added feelingly.

She was looking down, a white, tapered finger stirring the red
petals of the rose. Then she spoke in a low, sweet tone that
trembled with holy feeling and cut me like a sword of the spirit
going to its very hilt in my soul.

"Love looks to what is noble," said she, "or it is vain--it is
wicked; it fails; it dies in a day, like the rose. True love, that
is forever."

"What if it be hopeless?" I whispered.

"Ah! then it is very bitter," said she, her voice diminishing. "It
may kill the body, but--but love does not die. When it comes--"
There was a breath of silence that had in it a strange harmony not
of this world.

"'When it comes'?" I whispered.

"You see the coming of a great king," said she, looking down
thoughtfully, her chin, upon her hand.

"And all people bow their heads," I said.

"Yes," she added, with a sigh, "and give their bodies to be burned,
if he ask it. The king is cruel--sometimes."

"Dieu!" said I. "He has many captives."

She broke a sprig of fern, twirling it in her fingers; her big eyes
looked up at me, and saw, I know, to the bottom of my soul.

"But long live the king!" said she, her lips trembling, her cheeks
as red as the rose upon her bosom.

"Long live the king!" I murmured.

We dared go no farther. Sweet philosopher, inspired of Heaven, I
could not bear the look of her, and rose quickly with dim eyes and
went out of the open door. A revelation had come to me. Mere de
Dieu! how I loved that woman so fashioned in thy image! She
followed me, and laid her hand upon my arm tenderly, while I shook
with emotion.

"Captain," said she, in that sweet voice, "captain, what have I

It was the first day of the Indian summer, a memorable season that
year, when, according to an old legend, the Great Father sits idly
on the mountain-tops and blows the smoke of his long pipe into the
valleys. In a moment I was quite calm, and stood looking off to
the hazy hollows of the far field. I gave her my arm without
speaking, and we walked slowly down a garden path. For a time
neither broke the silence.

"I did not know--I did not know," she whispered presently.

"And I--must--tell you," I said brokenly, "that I--that I--"

"Hush-sh-sh!" she whispered, her hand over my lips. "Say no more!
say no more! If it is true, go--go quickly, I beg of you!"

There was such a note of pleading in her voice, I hear it, after
all this long time, in the hushed moments of my life, night or day.
"Go--go quickly, I beg of you!" We were both near breaking down.

[Illustration: "We were both near breaking down."]

"Vive le roi!" I whispered, taking her hand.

"Vive le roi!" she whispered, turning away.


How empty and weak are my words that try to tell of that day! I
doubt if there is in them anywhere what may suggest, even feebly,
the height and depth of that experience or one ray of the light in
her face. There are the words nearly as we said them; there are
the sighs, the glances, the tears: but everywhere there is much
missing--that fair young face and a thousand things irresistible
that drift in with every tide of high feeling. Of my history there
is not much more to write, albeit some say the best is untold.

I had never such a heart of lead as went with me to my work that
afternoon. What became of me I cared not a straw then, for I knew
my love was hopeless. D'ri met me as I got off my horse at the
Harbor. His keen eye saw my trouble quickly--saw near to the
bottom of it.

"Be'n hit?" said he, his great hand on my shoulder.

"With trouble," I answered. "Torn me up a little inside."

"Thought so," he remarked soberly. "Judas Priest! ye luk es ef a
shell 'ad bu'st 'n yer cockpit. Ain' nuthin' 'll spile a man
quicker. Sheer off a leetle an' git out o' range. An' 'member,
Ray, don't never give up the ship. Thet air 's whut Perry tol' us."

I said nothing and walked away, but have always remembered his
counsel, there was so much of his big heart in it. The army was to
move immediately, in that foolish campaign of Wilkinson that ended
with disaster at Chrysler's Farm. They were making the boats,
small craft with oars, of which three hundred or more would be
needed to carry us. We were to go eastward on the river and join
Hampden, whose corps was to march overland to Plattsburg, at some
point on the north shore. Word came, while I was away, that down
among the islands our enemy had been mounting cannon. It looked
as if our plan had leaked, as if, indeed, there were good chance of
our being blown out of water the first day of our journey. So,
before the army started, I was to take D'ri and eleven others, with
four boats, and go down to reconnoitre.

We got away before sundown that day, and, as dark came, were
passing the southwest corner of Wolf Island. I was leading the
little fleet, and got ashore, intending to creep along the edge and
rejoin them at the foot of the island. I had a cow-bell, muted
with cork, and was to clang it for a signal in case of need. Well,
I was a bit more reckless that night than ever I had been. Before
I had gone twenty rods I warned them to flee and leave me. I heard
a move in the brush, and was backing off, when a light flashed on
me, and I felt the touch of a bayonet. Then quickly I saw there
was no help for me, and gave the signal, for I was walled in.
Well, I am not going to tell the story of my capture. My sabre
could serve me well, but, heavens! it was no magic wand such as one
may read of in the story-books. I knew then it would serve me best
in the scabbard. There were few words and no fighting in the
ceremony. I gave up, and let them bind my arms. In two hours they
had me in jail, I knew not where. In the morning they let me send
a note to Lord Ronley, who was now barely two days out of his own
trouble. A week passed; I was to be tried for a spy, and saw
clearly the end of it all. Suddenly, a morning when my hopes were
gone, I heard the voice of his Lordship in the little corridor. A
keeper came with him to the door of my cell, and opened it.

"The doctor," said he.

"Well, well, old fellow," said Ronley, clapping me on the shoulder,
"you are ill, I hear."

"Really, I do not wish to alarm you," I said, smiling, "but--but it
does look serious."

He asked me to show my tongue, and I did so.

"Cheer up," said he, presently; "I have brought you this pill. It
is an excellent remedy."

He had taken from his pocket a brown pill of the size of a large
pea, and sat rolling it in his palm. Had he brought me poison?

"I suppose it is better than--"

He shot a glance at me as if to command silence, then he put the
pill in my palm. I saw it was of brown tissue rolled tightly.

"Don't take it now," said he; "too soon after breakfast. Wait half
an hour. A cup of water," he added, turning to the guard, who left
us for a moment.

He leaned to my ear and whispered:--

"Remember," said he, "2 is _a_, and 3 is _b_, and so on. Be
careful until the guard changes."

He handed me a small watch as he was leaving.

"It may be good company," he remarked.

I unrolled the tissue as soon as I was alone. It was covered with
these figures:--


21-16-15-10-8-9-21 4-6-13-13 5-16-16-19
22-15-13-16-4-12-6-5 13-10-7-21 20-14-2-13-13
24-10-15-5-16-24 10-15 4-16-19-19-10-5-16-19 3-2-4-12
21-16 24-2-13-13 8-16 19-10-8-9-21 21-16 19-16-2-5
13-6-7-21 200 17-2-4-6-20 21-16 17-2-21-9 13-6-7-21
21-16 19-10-23-6-19 19-10-8-9-21 21-24-6-15-21-26
21-16 21-9-10-4-12-6-21.

I made out the reading, shortly, as follows:--

"Twelve to-night cell door unlocked. Lift
small window in corridor. Back to wall go
right to road. Left two hundred paces to path.
Left to river. Right twenty to thicket."

Having read the figures, I rolled the tissue firmly, and hid it in
my ear. It was a day of some excitement, I remember, for that very
afternoon I was condemned to death. A priest, having heard of my
plight, came in that evening, and offered me the good ministry of
the church. The words, the face, of that simple man, filled me
with a deep tenderness for all who seek in the shadows of this
world with the lantern of God's mercy. Never, so long as I live,
shall an ill word of them go unrebuked in my hearing. He left me
at 10.30, and as he went away, my jailer banged the iron door
without locking it. Then I lay down there in the dark, and began
to tell off the time by my heartbeats, allowing forty-five hundred
to the hour, and was not far wrong. I thought much of his Lordship
as I waited. To him I had been of some service, but, surely, not
enough to explain this tender regard, involving, as it must have
done, bribery and no small degree of peril to himself. My counting
over, I tried the door, which swung easily as I put my hand upon
it, The little corridor was dark and I could hear no sound save the
snoring of a drunken soldier, committed that day for fighting, as
the turnkey had told me. I found the small window, and slid the
sash, and let my boots fall to the ground, then climbing through
and dropping on them. It was a dark night, but I was not long in
reaching the road and pacing my way to the path and river. His
Lordship and a boatman lay in the thicket waiting for me.

"This way," the former whispered, taking my arm and leading me to
the mouth of a little brook, where a boat was tied, the bottom
muffled with blankets. I took the stern seat, his Lordship the
bow, and we pushed off. The boatman, a big, husky fellow, had been
rowing a long hour when we put into a cove under the high shore of
an island. I could see a moving glow back in the bushes. It swung
slowly, like a pendulum of light, with a mighty flit and tumble of
shadows. We tied our boat, climbed the shore, and made slowly for
the light. Nearing it, his Lordship whistled twice, and got
answer. The lantern was now still; it lighted the side of a
soldier in high boots; and suddenly I saw it was D'ri. I caught
his hand, raising it to my lips. We could not speak, either of us.
He stepped aside, lifting the lantern. God! there stood Louise.
She was all in black, her head bent forward.

"Dear love!" I cried, grasping her hands, "why--why have you come

She turned her face away, and spoke slowly, her voice trembling
with emotion.

"To give my body to be burned," said she.

I turned, lifting my arm to smite the man who had brought me there;
but lo! some stronger hand had struck him, some wonder-working
power of a kind that removes mountains. Lord Ronley was wiping his

"I cannot do this thing," said he, in a broken voice. "I cannot do
this thing. Take her and go."

D'ri had turned away to hide his feelings.

"Take them to your boat," said his Lordship.

"Wait a minute," said D'ri, fixing his lantern. "Judas Priest! I
ain't got no stren'th. I 'm all tore t' shoe-strings."

I took her arm, and we followed D'ri to the landing. Lord Ronley
coming with us.

"Good-by," said he, leaning to push us off. "I am a better man for
knowing you. Dear girl, you have put all the evil out of me."

He held a moment to the boat, taking my hand as I came by him.

"Bell," said he, "henceforward may there be peace between you and

"And between your country and mine," I answered.

And, thank God! the war was soon over, and ever since there has
been peace between the two great peoples. I rejoice that even we
old men have washed our hearts of bitterness, and that the young
have now more sense of brotherhood.

Above all price are the words of a wise man, but silence, that is
the great counsellor. In silence wisdom enters the heart and
understanding puts forth her voice. In the hush of that night ride
I grew to manhood; I put away childish things. I saw, or thought I
saw, the two great powers of good and evil. One was love, with the
power of God in it to lift up, to ennoble; the other, love's
counterfeit, a cunning device of the devil, with all his power to
wreck and destroy, deceiving him that has taken it until he finds
at last he has neither gold nor silver, but only base metal hanging
as a millstone to his neck.

At dawn we got ashore on Battle Point. We waited there, Louise and
I, while D'ri went away to bring horses. The sun rose clear and
warm; it was like a summer morning, but stiller, for the woods had
lost their songful tenantry. We took the forest road, walking
slowly. Some bugler near us had begun to play the song of
Yankee-land. Its phrases travelled like waves in the sea, some
high-crested, moving with a mighty rush, filling the valleys,
mounting the hills, tossing their spray aloft, flooding all the
shores of silence. Far and near, the trees were singing in praise
of my native land.

"Ramon," said Louise, looking up at me, a sweet and queenly dignity
in her face, "I have come to love this country."

"And you could not have done so much for me unless you had loved--"

She looked up at me quickly, and put her finger to her lips. My
tongue faltered, obeying the command. How sweet and beautiful she
was then, her splendid form erect, the light of her eyes softened
by long lashes! She looked down thoughtfully as she gave the
bottom of her gown a shake.

"Once upon a time," said she, slowly, as our eyes met again, "there
was a little country that had a cruel king. And he commanded that
none of all his people should speak until--until--"

She hesitated, stirring the dead leaves with her dainty foot.

"Until a great mountain had been removed and buried in the sea,"
she added in a low tone.

"Ah, that was hard."

"Especially for the ladies," she went on, sighing. "Dieu! they
could only sit and hold their tongues and weep and feel very
foolish. And the longer they were silent the more they had to say."

"And those who broke the law?" I inquired.

"Were condemned to silence for their lives," she answered. "Come,
we are both in danger; let us go."

A bit farther on we came to a log house where a veteran of the old
war sat playing his bugle, and a motherly woman bade us sit awhile
at the door-step.


D'ri came soon with horses, one the black thoroughbred of Louise
which had brought her on this errand. We gave them free rein,
heading for the chateau. Not far up the woods-pike we met M. de
Lambert and the old count. The former was angry, albeit he held
himself in hand as became a gentleman, save that he was a bit too
cool with me.

"My girl, you have upset us terribly," said the learned doctor. "I
should like to be honored with your confidence."

"And I with your kindness, dear father," said she, as her tears
began falling. "I am much in need of it."

"She has saved my life, m'sieur," I said.

"Then go to your work," said he, coolly, "and make the most of it."

"Ah, sir, I had rather--"

"Good-by," said Louise, giving me her hand.

"Au revoir," I said quickly, and wheeled my horse and rode away.

The boats were ready. The army was waiting for the order, now
expected any moment, to move. General Brown had not been at his
quarters for a day.

"Judas Priest!" said D'ri, when we were alone together, "thet air
gal 'd go through fire an' water fer you."

"You 're mistaken," I said.

"No, I hain't nuther," said he. "Ef I be, I 'm a reg'lar
out-an'-out fool, hand over fist."

He whittled a moment thoughtfully.

"Ain' no use talkin'," he added, "I can tell a hoss from a
jack-rabbit any day."

"Her father does not like me," I suggested.

"Don't hev to," said D'ri, calmly.

He cut a deep slash in the stick he held, then added: "Don't make
no odds ner no diff'rence one way er t' other. I did n't like th'
measles, but I hed t' hev 'em."

"He'll never permit a marriage with me," I said.

"'T ain't nec'sary," he declared soberly. "In this 'ere country
don' tek only tew t' mek a bargain. One o' the blessin's o'

He squinted up at the sky, delivering his confidence in slowly
measured phrases, to wit; "Wouldn't give ten cents fer no man 'at
'll give up a gal 'less he 'd orter--not fer nuthin' ner nobody."

I was called out of bed at cockcrow in the morning. The baroness
and a footman were at the door.

"Ah, my captain, there is trouble," she whispered. "M. de Lambert
has taken his daughters. They are going back to Paris, bag and
baggage. Left in the evening."

"By what road?"

"The turnpike militaire."

"Thanks, and good morning," I said. "I shall overhaul them."

I called D'ri, and bade him feed the horses quickly. I went to see
General Brown, but he and Wilkinson were on the latter's gig, half
a mile out in the harbor. I scribbled a note to the
farmer-general, and, leaving it, ran to the stables. Our horses
were soon ready, and D'ri and I were off a bit after daylight,
urging up hill and down at a swift gallop, and making the forest
ring with hoof-beats. Far beyond the chateau we slackened pace and
went along leisurely. Soon we passed the town where they had put
up overnight, and could see the tracks of horse and coach-wheel.
D'ri got off and examined them presently.

"Purty fresh," he remarked. "Can't be more 'n five mild er so
further on."

We rode awhile in silence.

"How ye goin' t' tackle 'em?" he inquired presently.

"Going to stop them somehow," said I, "and get a little

"An' mebbe a gal?" he suggested.

"Maybe a gal."

"Don' care s' long as ye dew th' talkin'. I can rassle er fight,
but my talk in a rumpus ain' fit fer no woman t' hear, thet 's

We overtook the coach at a village, near ten o'clock.

D'ri rushed on ahead of them, wheeling with drawn sabre. The
driver pulled rein, stopping quickly. M. de Lambert was on the
seat beside him. I came alongside.

"Robbers!" said M. de Lambert, "What do you mean?"

The young ladies and Brovel were looking out of the door, Louise
pale and troubled.

"No harm to any, m'sieur," I answered. "Put up your pistol."

I opened the coach door. M. de Lambert, hissing with anger, leaped
to the road. I knew he would shoot me, and was making ready to
close with him, when I heard a rustle of silk, and saw Louise
between us, her tall form erect, her eyes forceful and commanding.
She stepped quickly to her father.

"Let me have it!" said she, taking the pistol from his hand. She
flung it above the heads of some village folk who had gathered near

"Why do you stop us?" she whispered, turning to me.

"So you may choose between him and me," I answered.

"Then I leave all for you," said she, coming quickly to my side.

[Illustration: "Then I leave all for you."]

The villagers began to cheer, and old D'ri flung his hat in the
air, shouting, "Hurrah fer love an' freedom!"

"An' the United States of Ameriky," some one added.

"She is my daughter," said M. de Lambert, with anger, as he came up
to me. "I may command her, and I shall seek the aid of the law as
soon as I find a magistrate."

"But see that you find him before we find a minister," I said.

"The dominie! Here he is," said some one near us.

"Marry them," said another. "It is Captain Bell of the army, a
brave and honorable man."

Does not true love, wherever seen, spread its own quality and
prosper by the sympathy it commands? Louise turned to the good
man, taking his hand.

"Come," said she, "there is no time to lose."

The minister came to our help. He could not resist her appeal, so
sweetly spoken. There, under an elm by the wayside, with some
score of witnesses, including Louison and the young Comte de
Brovel, who came out of the coach and stood near, he made us man
and wife. We were never so happy as when we stood there hand in
hand, that sunny morning, and heard the prayer for God's blessing,
and felt a mighty uplift in our hearts. As to my sweetheart, there
was never such a glow in her cheeks, such a light in her large
eyes, such a grace in her figure.

"Dear sister," said Louison, kissing her, "I wish I were as happy."

"And you shall be as soon as you get to Paris," said the young

"Oh, dear, I can hardly wait!" said the merry-hearted girl, looking
proudly at her new lover.

"I admire your pluck, my young man," said M. de Lambert, as we
shook hands. "You Americans are a great people. I surrender; I am
not going to be foolish. Turn your horses," said he, motioning to
the driver. "We shall go back at once."

I helped Louise into the coach with her sister and the Comte de
Brovel. D'ri and I rode on behind them, the village folk cheering
and waving their hats,

"Ye done it skilful," said D'ri, smiling. "Whut'd I tell ye?"

I made no answer, being too full of happiness at the moment.

"Tell ye one thing, Ray," he went on soberly: "ef a boy an' a gal
loves one 'nother, an' he has any grit in 'im, can't nuthin' keep
'em apart long."

He straightened the mane of his horse, and then added:--

"Ner they can't nuthin' conquer 'em."

Soon after two o'clock we turned in at the chateau.

We were a merry company at luncheon, the doctor drinking our health
and happiness with sublime resignation. But I had to hurry
back--that was the worst of it all. Louise walked with me to the
big gate, where were D'ri and the horses. We stopped a moment on
the way.

"Again?" she whispered, her sweet face on my shoulder. "Yes, and
as often as you like. No more now--there is D'ri. Remember,
sweetheart, I shall look and pray for you day and night."


Sooner or later all things come to an end, including wars and
histories,--a God's mercy!--and even the lives of such lucky men as
I. All things, did I say? Well, what wonder, for am I not writing
of youth and far delights with a hand trembling of infirmity? All
things save one, I meant to say, and that is love, the immortal
vine, with its root in the green earth, that weathers every storm,
and "groweth not old," and climbs to paradise; and who eats of its
fruit has in him ever a thought of heaven--a hope immortal as

This book of my life ends on a bright morning in the summer of '17,
at the new home of James Donatianus Le Ray, Comte de Chaumont, the
chateau having burned the year before.

President Monroe is coming on the woods-pike, and veterans are
drawn up in line to meet him. Here are men who fought at Chippewa
and Lundy's Lane and Lake Erie and Chrysler's Farm, and here are
some old chaps who fought long before at Plattsburg and
Ticonderoga. Joseph Bonaparte, the ex-king of Spain, so like his
mighty brother at St. Helena, is passing the line. He steps
proudly, in ruffles and green velvet. Gondolas with liveried
gondoliers, and filled with fair women, are floating on the still
lake, now rich with shadow-pictures of wood and sky and rocky shore.

A burst of melody rings in the great harp of the woodland. In that
trumpet peal, it seems, a million voices sing:--

Hail, Columbia, happy land!

Slowly the line begins to limp along. There are wooden legs and
crutches and empty sleeves in that column. D'ri goes limping in
front, his right leg gone at the knee since our last charge.
Draped around him is that old battle-flag of the _Lawrence_. I
march beside him, with only this long seam across my check to show
that I had been with him that bloody day at Chrysler's. We move
slowly over a green field to the edge of the forest. There, in the
cool shadow, are ladies in white, and long tables set for a feast.
My dear wife, loved of all and more beautiful than ever, comes to
meet us.

"Sweetheart," she whispers, "I was never so proud to be your wife."

"And an American," I suggest, kissing her.

"And an American," she answers.

A bugle sounds; the cavalcade is coming.

"The President!" they cry, and we all begin cheering.

He leads the escort on a black horse, a fine figure in military
coat and white trousers, his cocked hat in hand, a smile lighting
his face. The count receives him and speaks our welcome.
President Monroe looks down the war-scarred line a moment. His
eyes fill with tears, and then he speaks to us.

"Sons of the woodsmen," says he, concluding his remarks, "you shall
live in the history of a greater land than that we now behold or
dream of, and in the gratitude of generations yet unborn, long,
long after we are turned to dust."

And then we all sing loudly with full hearts:

O land I love!--thy acres sown
With sweat and blood and shattered bone--
God's grain, that ever doth increase
The goodly harvest of his peace.


[Transcriber's note - the following material is the Lilypond
(www.lilypond.org) source for the song found earlier in this
e-book. Search for the word "roundelay". Thanks to Dave
Maddock for its preparation.]

\version "2.0.1"

melody = \notes \relative c' {
\key e \major
\time 4/4


\partial 4 gis'8.\fermata[ fis16] \bar "|:" \mark
\markup { \musicglyph #"scripts-segno" }
e8. e16 dis8. cis16 cis cis8. b8.[ gis16] |
b4 b8. gis16 b4 e8. fis16 |
gis4 gis gis8.[ fis16] e4 |
gis16 gis8. fis8. fis16 fis4 gis8.[ fis16] |
e4 e8. cis16 cis8. cis16 b8. gis16 |
b16 b8. b8. gis16 b4 e8. fis16 |
gis4 b4 gis16[ fis8.] e8.[ fis16] |
gis4 e4 e\fermata e\fermata |
gis4 b8. b16 b8 cis b a |
gis4 b b4. b8 |
a4 cis8. cis16 cis8 dis cis b |
a4 cis cis4. b8 |
e4 e8. e16 b8 cis b a |
gis4 gis fis e8.[ fis16] |
gis4 gis gis16[ fis8.] e16[ fis8.] |
gis4^\markup{ \italic "ritard." } fis fis gis8.\fermata^\markup{
\italic "D.S. " \musicglyph #"scripts-segno"}[ fis16] \bar ":|"

text = \lyrics {
Oh, hap -- py is th' mil -- ler who
lives by him -- self! As th' wheel goes round, he
gath -- ers in 'is wealth, One hand on the
hop -- per and the oth -- er on the bag; As the
wheel goes round, he cries out, "Grab!" Oh,
ain't you a lit -- tle bit a -- shamed o' this, Oh,
ain't you a lit -- tle bit a -- sham'd o' this, Oh,
ain't you a lit -- tle bit a -- sham'd o' this -- To
stay all night for one sweet kiss "Oh, etc."

\score {
\new Staff
\new Lyrics \text

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