Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh's literal underground railroad. Added by Sculptor. Oxford, England. The remnants of this unusual bridge await an uncertain fate.
Statue of Major General James Wolfe - 1779
Added by Alex Rad. Thanks for sharing! Want a Free Book? Stay in Touch! Follow us on social media to add even more wonder to your day. No purchase necessary. Offer available only in the U. Offer subject to change without notice. See contest rules for full details. Every weekday we compile our most wondrous stories and deliver them straight to you. Like Atlas Obscura and get our latest and greatest stories in your Facebook feed. Her daffodils and wild-flower plots were in bloom, and from this day until the white frosts there would be no end of flowering things.
Most of all she loved her kit-run-abouts which Jeems called Johnny-jump-ups, and her sweet Williams and bouncing Bets, the last of which was the plumed ancestor of all the carnations. From daffodil-time until the autumnal marigold there would be hollyhocks, celandine, roses, lewpins and candy-tuff, larkin-spur and sweet-scented pease, sunflowers and catchfly, pinks and Queen Margarets, and a score more of grasses and flowers in her gardens, until a stranger coming upon her wilderness home would scarcely have believed that it lay at the edge of a raw frontier.
Running up to the borders of these gardens were Henri's work fields, beginning first, because of Catherine's artistic eye, with the gentler growths of husbandry—carefully groomed and plotted soil for herbs and vegetables, lettuce, sorrel, parsley, mallows, chervil, burnet, thyme, sage, carrots, parsnips, beets, radishes, purslain, beans, cabbages, squashes, asparagus, musk melons, cucumbers, and pompions; and beyond these marked-out patches lay the broader fields for heavier grains and foods, ten acres of well-tilled land in all, ending up against the hard-maple wood out of which, in the preceding month of April, Henri had taken his year's supply of fifty gallons of maple syrup and four times as many pounds of sugar.
These precious possessions the four saw as they came down the green slope, and not one half of them would Catherine have exchanged for all of Madame Tonteur's riches. Only a pallid glow of the sun was left, and the world was preparing itself for the close of day. Overhead an endless column of pigeons was on its way to a great roost in the forbidden valley, flying crows settled into the gloom of the Big Forest, and black and gray squirrels in the hardwoods ceased their chatter and slipped like shadows from tree to tree.
Catherine's chickens were gathered about their shelter, and up from the fenced-in meadow, through which a creek ran to lose itself in the woods, their ox and cow had come to the log-barn gate. Catherine was smiling at her husband, and in Henri's eyes was an answering light of happiness, when out of the peace and beauty which lay about their home rose a piercing and blood-curdling cry—a cry which seemed to stop every sound that was in the air, which reached the pigeons and swerved them affrightedly, which startled the phlegmatic ox at the gate, a cry of monstrous depth and vastness, and with that cry a wild figure came toward them from its hiding place in the greening shrubbery of Catherine's garden.
With a lurch of his shoulder, Henri sent the bag of corn to the ground, while ahead of him Jeems swung his long gun into the crook of his arm and Odd stiffened and let out a sullen growl. The scraggy and mysterious figure advanced up the slope, and Jeems had looked to his flint and priming and stood with a ready thumb on the hammer of his weapon when from behind her husband and her boy Catherine gave first a startled gasp, then a little scream, and sped past her protectors to meet the advancing stranger with open arms.
The stirring words had scarcely fallen from his mother's lips when Jeems laid his gun on the ground and ran after her, but with all his haste she was in her brother's arms before he could overtake her, while his father, carrying the turkey cock but without the corn, came hurriedly out of his amazement and down to meet them. When he arrived, Hepsibah Adams was holding Catherine with one arm and with the other had hoisted Jeems halfway to his shoulder. In a moment he freed himself enough to hold out a hand as rough and knotted as the old oak tree which sheltered the cabin from the afternoon sun.
If ever a man bore an affinity to an oak, with its cheer and strength and rugged growth, that man was Hepsibah Adams, the Indian trader. There was also something about him which made one think of Odds-and-Ends. With all this he was as cheerful a creature to look upon as friend or enemy could want to meet.
He was not as tall as Henri by half a head, nor did he have his leanness. His shoulders were wide and his body thick, and his face was as round as an apple and almost as red, with marks and mars of stress and battle set upon it, but in such a way that its vivacity and the good humour of its twinkling eyes were enhanced rather than spoiled by the vicissitudes of fortune. He wore no hat, and on the top of his head was a saucer-like space as bald as an egg, but under this beauty spot, as Hepsibah called it, his reddish blond hair grew thick and rampant, with its ends curling up, so that with a small effort of imagination he might have been taken for a shaven friar who had been at hard grips with the disciples of Satan.
When the excitement of first greetings was over, Catherine stood back from her jolly rogue of a brother and viewed him with a pair of eyes bright with affection, but which glowed at the same time with an appraising and speculative questioning which her lips at once put into words.
Hepsibah's weather-stained face broke into a smile. And as for the ear with a nick in it, what can you expect from a Frenchman—excepting your sweet-tempered husband here—when he gets a chance to use his teeth instead of the hands which God gave him to fight with? The slit in the face is only a crease left by an Oneida's knife when he misled himself with the thought that I had got the best of a bargain, which I never do get, or I'm a sinner!
But is that all? Do you keep no better account of me than that? I hated that bald patch, which was as uneven as a candle-dripping on the top of my head, but now that it is round I like it. God love me, but you should have seen that Albany Dutchman fight! Hepsibah, has anything happened—near here? A few miles back I ran into a bunch of Frenchies who said this was a long way from New England and had it in their minds to turn me t'other way. But that was nothing, nothing at all. I am a bit ashamed of you, Catherine, for you have missed the important thing! It has fallen in on itself until it hurts my backbone, and has withered and wasted itself to the dimensions of a lady's.
It is dwarfed, shortened, circumscribed, and reduced—fairly warped and strangled from lack of food! And if I do not eat very soon——". So we shall have supper almost as soon as smoke can be made to come out of the chimney. I am so happy you have come! Jeems was tugging at the hand of his roving vagabond of an uncle, who was his greatest hero in all the world, and dragged him back to get his gun. But Henri only chuckled, for the thought was in his mind that it was a fattening of one's good fortune to be taught tricks by a man like Hepsibah Adams.
When they came through the wide double door of the kitchen, Henri drew a deep breath of satisfaction and Catherine gave a pleased cry of surprise. It was a great kitchen, thirty feet from end to end and twenty in width, with the last light of day coming through its western windows.
To this fading illumination was added the rosier glow of a flaming back log and a huge mass of hard-maple coals which faced them as they entered. Henri had spent a month in the building of their fireplace, and the proudest seigneurie along the Richelieu could not boast a finer one. He had housed Catherine and Jeems with an aunt in Three Rivers while constructing their home, and when Catherine first saw the fireplace she walked straight into it without bending her head, and so wide was it, as well as high, that Henri had built seats within the chimney-place on either side, and over these were hooks on which to hang firearms, and even small drawers set into the stone for his pipes and tobacco; and farther back, never in the way of smoke or soot, were many other hooks for Catherine's treasures of pots and kettles and pans, so that the chimney-place was a kitchen in itself and a cozy snug-corner for wild wintry nights as well.
The problem of getting fuel, which at first had somewhat frightened Catherine, had never worried Henri at all, for in the winter he dragged up with his ox hardwood logs six feet in length and two feet thick, which he ran on rollers through the door to the firepot, and with one timber such as this for a back log and two or three smaller ones with which to cuddle it, he had a fire that would last a day and night, and not only was he rewarded with greater comfort than if he had burned smaller logs, but he was also saved a vast amount of cutting.
It was the aliveness of this fireplace which had drawn an expression of surprise and pleasure from Catherine—that and the aroma of cooking things which greeted them. Since Catherine's earliest memories, her brother had boasted of his excellence as a cook, and most assuredly he had been busy since his unexpected arrival. Half a dozen chains were dropped from their bolts in the thick oak lug-bar seven feet above the fire, and from the pothooks at the end of these chains were suspended as many pots and kettles, steaming and boiling and giving forth a cheerful sound of dancing pewter lids against which the bubbling water was playing an animated and pleasing melody.
But to Henri, who always loved the sound of these busy pots with their lively cheer and promise of supper, a still more delectable thing was the great roast of venison which Hepsibah had hung before the fire. He had ignored Catherine's Dutch oven, or roasting kitchen, of which she was exceedingly proud, and had replaced that household device with the more primitive arrangement of a stout hempen string tied to a wooden peg in the ceiling, to the end of which, in the glowing heat of the fire, he had securely fastened a haunch of young venison.
By giving this string a twist now and then, the meat was made to turn slowly for an interval of several minutes while its juices dripped into the basting pan under it. That Hepsibah had been watchful of his roast, basting it so frequently that there was not an inch of dry surface upon it, was evident from its richly brown and savoury appearance as it swung slowly before the fire as if unseen hands were attending it. Housewifely instinct made Catherine give the hempen string a twist before she took off her cape and hood and patted her hair more properly into place before a mirror hanging on the wall.
Then she glanced down the long table which Hepsibah had laid with her pewter in preparedness for the roast. Henri knew how fast her heart was tripping as he took her hands and held them for a moment and saw a mist of tears behind her lashes. It had been two years since she had seen Hepsibah, two years of yearning and praying and hoping for this irresponsible brother, the last of her close blood ties, who came and went with the inconstancy of the winds and yet had never succeeded in spoiling her dream of having him some day as a permanent member of her little family.
Each time he came to them, Hepsibah was full of promise, swearing upon his soul that he had made up his mind to remain with them forever, as Catherine pleaded with him to do; and then, some day or night, he would disappear with all his belongings, and no one would see or hear him go, and it might be six months, or a year, or, as in this instance, even longer before he returned, ready to promise and swear upon his soul all over again but sure to steal away in the end as before.
Once he had confided to Henri, "I can't say good-bye, not even to an Indian, and I surely can't say it to Catherine. I'd rather leave her smiling and laughing than crying. Each time that he came, he bore a huge pack on his shoulders, as if partly in penance, and the opening of this pack and the distributing of its contents had come to be the biggest event in Jeems's life, and also in his mother's in a slightly less degree. But Jeems had no trespassing thought of the never-failing bundle as he went back for his gun in the company of his beloved Uncle Hep.
At the most providential of moments, his hero of all heroes was at his side, and securing this mighty personage's pledge of secrecy he lost no time in telling him about the boy he hated. Marking the grip of Jeems's hand, and catching the telltale tremble in his voice, Hepsibah sat down upon the bag of ground corn and did not leave it until by shrewd questioning and sympathetic interest he had drawn from Jeems's heart a large part of what it had withheld from his parents that afternoon.
At a second loud blowing of Henri's dinner horn they rose to their feet, and as Hepsibah shouldered the corn, his round red face was like a full moon of promise and cheer. I've always had a reasonable preference for the big ones, come as come can, for they are slower to move and fall harder, and nine out of ten of them carry fat. This Paul Tache, now—I know by your telling of him that you can cob and comb him until he begs for mercy, which is the proper time, if he's down, to give him a few whops for good measure and memory.
It's all what you've got your mind made up to, Jeemsy—nothing more and nothing less. And you've got your mind made up to warm him, so go and do it, I say. Catherine came around the corner of the cabin to meet the plotters, and Hepsibah discreetly held back further words as he winked broadly at Jeems. It was the great night of two long years in the Bulain cabin, and Catherine's three Betty lamps and her Phoebe lamp and a dozen candles as well were lighted in honour of it, so that when darkness fell thick and starless about the wilderness, with masses of rain clouds gathering overhead, the home at the edge of Forbidden Valley was bright with glow and cheer.
Even the crash of thunder and a deluge of rain on the chestnut-barked roof, and hatfuls of wind that rattled the windowpanes, seemed to pass unnoticed in the joy that was within. The roast was cut open, and with attendant dishes of sukquttahhash, Johnnycake, potatoes, and carrots, and hasty pudding with maple syrup, gave opportunity for such feasting that an hour was well gone before Hepsibah Adams thrust back his end of the long table bench and brought forth his fat pack from under the stairs which led up to Jeems's sleeping loft.
As long as Jeems could remember, this had been a signal to clear the table of every dish and crumb that was on it, and while his father smoked a long Dutch pipe and his Uncle Hepsibah fumbled with mock clumsiness at the tyings of his pack, he ran a race with his mother to see whose side would be cleaned up first. When it was done, his mother put a Betty lamp at each end of the table and then seated herself so that she was facing her brother, with delight and expectancy equal to Jeems's flushing her cheeks and brightening her eyes. Hepsibah buried his hands in the mysterious depths of his bundle.
Ah, here we have the first package, with writing on it in the hand of the scholar who sold me the goods—a cap, a ruffle, a tucker, and a bolt of lace at five shillings a yard! Now who in this room can such sillies be for—unless——" and at Catherine's delighted exclamation he tossed the bundle to her. But scarce had she opened it, with her eyes intent upon her business, than Hepsibah unfurled a red silk petticoat in the candle glow, and this time Catherine sprang to her feet with an amazed intake of breath, for so well had Hepsibah arranged his surprise that, one after another, he had a white love-hood, a black love-hood, and three more petticoats on the table—one of scarlet with black lace, one of coloured drugget with pointed lace, and a third of black silk with ash-gray lining; and as Catherine stood gazing upon these treasures fit for a queen he added to them two pairs of stays for an eighteen-inch waist, and then showered over them such an array of lace drowlas, gorgets, piccadillies, and other neckerchiefs that Catherine closed her eyes for a moment and then opened them wide as if there might be a chance of some clever trickery in it.
But Catherine paid no attention to his fun, if she heard at all, for her slim fingers were running swiftly over her gifts, caressing one and then another, until Henri forgot to puff at his pipe, and Jeems stood up better to see the excitement in his mother's face. And to go with these dresses I have here ruffles and tuckers and threads and buttons and ribbons, and four pairs of the nicest shoes that ever came up the Hudson," and placing these last-named articles on the table with a flourish of his arms, Hepsibah gave a gloating chuckle and paused to fill his pipe.
Jeems's heart was near breaking with suspense, and it seemed to give an audible crack when his Uncle Hep's gnarled hands went into the pack again. The method of procedure had always been the same—his mother coming first, and then he, with his father looking on until the last. But this year Hepsibah had decided upon a change, for he drew a bulky package from his store and passed it to Jeems's father. Now, how's that?
Canadian Attractions in Québec City
For an eternity, it seemed to Jeems, his uncle remained in this terrifying posture. Then, with deliberate and aggravating slowness, Hepsibah Adams returned to his pack. No one of the three who were watching him would ever have guessed that Hepsibah's act was one weighted heavily with the force of destiny, nor that with dramatic inevitableness it was to change the course of human lives, bringing the high down to earth, and the earthly to great heights, loosing passions and hatreds and loves, breeding tragedies and joys, and ending, at last, in what it is the purpose of this humble chronicle of human events to narrate.
A swift-coming thought, a deft return into the pack of a small bundle which he had intended for Catherine, and Hepsibah had changed a world. On such trivial happenings do the most powerful of the fates sometimes rest. Out of the farthest corner of the collapsing pack he brought this bundle to light once more and unwrapped it as he turned toward Jeems's big-eyed, anxious face.
According to law, you are a King's subject of maturity from that day and can take life and all its belongings into your own hands, so long as you are honest about it, and can stand up in equality before the stiffest periwigged judge in the Colonies or New France. In other words, Jeemsy, I mean that in less than three short years you will be a full-fledged man! Having delivered himself of this introductory peroration Hepsibah finished unwrapping the package, and never had Catherine beheld such a handsome piece of velvet as that which her brother displayed in the candle glow.
It was, par excellence , the finest of the treasures he had brought, a cloth of matchless beauty, a crimson glory so filled with changing humours and colours that it seemed to be alive in his hands. Surely this was another present for his mother, Jeems thought. But to his amazement and Catherine's surprise Hepsibah thrust the cloth into Jeems's hands. Twelve and ten are not far from sixteen and fourteen, when you will be man and woman, and if ever a seigneur's daughter finds herself lucky it will be on the day she marries a son of the tribe of Adams.
The writing on it, Jeemsy, tells where't came from and how much it cost; and along with it I have brought you some nankeen for britches and clothes, four shirts, and a three-cornered hat with a black ribbon, six handkerchiefs, and a jackknife, two pairs o' serge britches, as many of new shoes, and—this," and from the now completely emptied pack he drew forth a beautiful long-barrelled pistol, his eyes aglow with a fighting man's pride as he fondled it in the light of the candles and pointed out its merits to Jeems.
It's a killer, lad, a killer deadly and sure, good for a hundred paces with less than an inch of drop," and he gave the weapon into Jeems's hands. And here we are at peace, having need only of the rifle and of Jeemsy's bow and arrows to bring us meat. I feel it is not best! As she spoke thus confidently of peace, a cloud came over Hepsibah's face, but in a moment he had laughed it away and was telling her that within a week she would be as proud of her boy's marksmanship as she now seemed fearful of the pistol's influence upon his future.
An hour later, when Jeems went to his bed in the loft, it was of neither pistol nor marksmanship he was thinking, but of the piece of red velvet which he placed close to his pillow before he snuffed his candle and laid himself down for the night. If his heart beat less swiftly now, he was even more joyously thrilled than when he had been with his people. The rumbling of thunder and flashing of lightning had passed, and the soft spring rain fell steadily on the roof a few feet over his head, drowning in its drowsy and musical rhythm whatever sound of voices might have come to him from the fireplace room.
He could hear the running of water off the roof in a hundred busy trickles and streams, and caught the mellower sound of it pouring from the chestnut-bark trough at the edge of the eaves into the wooden barrel below. Jeems loved this music of falling water. It soothed and comforted him and made his dreams more vivid. He loved the foot-wide rills in the forests at snow-melting time; he loved the dark and hidden creeks stealing their way among the cool and shaded places in summer; he loved the bigger streams, the lakes, and even the still ponds which in August were covered with green "frog scum.
And now, with his hand resting against his present for Toinette, and with the comradely beating of the rain above him, the world that had gone to pieces for him that day reassembled itself swiftly in his mind. Here, at last, was the kind of gift he had tried to build in his dreams. Flowers and feathers and nuts and maple-sugar bars could not equal one square inch of its beauty. It was lovelier than anything he had ever seen Antoinette wear, and his spirit rose in such increasing exultation that in the darkness of his room his eyes opened wide and sleep was miles away. To-morrow was the day of the auction sale at Lussan's place.
Lussan was a wealthy farmer at the edge of the next seigneurie, ten miles away. He was returning to his old home near the Isle of Orleans, a country he liked better than the Richelieu, and was selling most of his goods. Among these were a plough with an iron point, a forty-gallon soap kettle, and a loom which Jeems's father wanted, so he had planned to start with the ox early in the morning. Jeems had heard Tonteur say he intended to buy Lussan's three slaves, a mother and father and daughter, and that the young wench was for Toinette.
Toinette would be with her father. He would take his treasure package with him to Lussan's and find an opportunity to give it to her. Should Paul Tache be there and dare to overlord him again, or laugh in his meanly suggestive way, or speak sneeringly, or so much as say a word against his gift for Toinette A rumble of fresh-growing thunder was advancing out of the west, and preceding it came a roar of wind and a deluge of rain.
Lightning cut once more in vivid flashings across the narrow panes of the bedroom window, and the roof seemed to bend and groan under a sudden torrential bombardment. Jeems fought in unison with the elements. His spirit mounted savagely with the turmoil. He had his enemy down and was thrusting his head into wet and slimy mud. He was beating his face and eyes, and spoiling his splendid raiment, and pulling out his hair. And Marie Antoinette was looking on. With the gorgeous red velvet in her hands and her eyes big and starry, she was watching him as he choked and kicked and pummelled the life out of Paul Tache!
The outburst of thunder and wind and deluge, a whim of playful spring, passed as swiftly as it had come, and, in passing, it left Jeems breathing quickly and fiercely in his bed. He had risen in these moments to reckless heights, and his mind, hot with its desire for action, had settled with grim assurance upon what would happen the next day. Boys became men by law when sixteen, girls' best marriageable years were from fifteen to seventeen, and a young lady of ten was deemed no longer a child.
Experience and education so swiftly developed youth to its maturity that Governor Winthrop's son became executor of his father's will when he was only fourteen years of age. Henri and his wife sat up late with Hepsibah Adams, for this time Hepsibah had come with a set and determined purpose to his sister's home. Had Jeems crept down the stairs toward the end of the evening's talk, he would have discovered the happiness of earlier hours mellowed by a tense and almost tragic seriousness that lay in the faces of his mother and Uncle Hepsibah.
The trader's countenance had grown stern, and Catherine's cheeks were like those of a pale nun in the candlelight. The rich gifts from her prodigal brother were heaped on the table, but something of deeper import than a contemplation of their beauty and the thrill of possessing them had gathered in her eyes. In Henri Bulain's face were still the cheer and good-humour and unruffled equanimity of confidence and faith that Hepsibah, with the darkest pictures he had painted, had been unable to disturb.
They were talking about war. As early as this spring of , the American wilderness had begun to stir with whispers of the impending conflagration which was destined soon to turn the eastern part of the continent into a seething pot of fury and death. While George the Second of England and Louis the Fifteenth of France were playing at friendship after the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, France gasping for breath with the flower of her armies buried on European battlefields, and England with her fighting forces reduced on land to eighteen thousand men and to less than seventeen thousand on the sea, the vast colonies of the two countries, working out their own salvations, were steadily and surely and with deadly intent encroaching upon each other.
While the two greatest monarchies in Europe were disguising their weaknesses under a screen of clever politics and a shambles of court orgies which transformed their capitals into gorgeous carnivals of extravagance and sensuality, these rival colonies in America had learned to distrust, to hate, and to look forward to a day of extermination and vengeance. The stage was already set for the writing of the bloodiest and most picturesque pages in American history.
Southward from the Richelieu were the bitterest of all the white men's enemies, the warriors of the Six Nations, and northward, sweeping east and west through the Canadas, were the forty scattered tribes who bore allegiance to New France. Behind these savage vassals, on one side, were eleven hundred thousand English colonists holding the sea-coast lands from Maine to Georgia, and on the other less than eighty thousand souls, counting women and children as well as men, to defend and hold the illimitable domains of New France, which reached from the upper Canadas to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Alleghanies to the Rocky Mountains.
Of this alarming disparity in power of fighting men, and of the pitiless scourge which he swore would some day sweep through all the country of Lake Champlain and the Richelieu, Hepsibah Adams had spoken at length but with small effect on Henri Bulain. But why talk of war, Brother, when there is peace and plenty and a beautiful world about us to enjoy? Let kings fight or play, just as they will, but as for me, should fighting chance to come—why, I shall be a friend to both sides and strike at neither.
For no matter what cause should bring about the strife, I could not strike at the people of my Catherine's blood, nor would she have me turn against my own. So why move from here? This is a glorious place. It is neutral ground, and we, being neutral, are fitly placed here. Oneidas and Mohawks have eaten under our roof as well as Hurons and Algonquins, and when deadly enemies such as these meet thus on common ground, what cause have we for fear?
A light of pride glowed in Catherine's eyes as she listened to her husband's words, and she added:. Take them where this danger does not hang day and night along the edges of the frontiers. Take them to the St. Lawrence, if you will, or bring them south into Catherine's country. But do one or t'other, for God's sake, or the day will come when Christ Himself cannot save you," and his voice shook with earnestness.
Hepsibah blew out his cheeks like a balloon, then sucked them in with a smack. It was a childhood trick he had never outgrown, a way of telling the world he was fully out of temper, and remembering it as such Catherine smiled, though her fingers twined uneasily in her lap. French and English traders are fighting wherever they come together along the frontiers, and the hired Indians of one are taking scalps for t'other.
Even white men have joined in that pretty game, for Massachusetts has sent out Lovewell and his fifty men to hunt the heads of Indians and French—it makes no difference which, though the order says redskins only! It's hair the Indians are bringing in instead o' fur, because the prices are bigger and the market surer, and our own blood, both French and English, is working harder each day with whisky and money and guns to turn them into devils. And here you sit like a couple of foolish doves with a young one in the nest, your scalps worth fifty pounds apiece, your windows open, your door unlocked, your senses gone, while over the hill a few miles away this Tonteur neighbour of yours loopholes his houses, trains his farmers with guns, barricades his windows, builds his doors of oak, and makes a fort of his meeting house.
He knows what is coming up from the Mohawk country and is preparing himself for it as well as he can.
On the Plains of Abraham | The Walrus
You have argued against yourself, Brother, for it is you who should move out of strife and danger and come to live with us. Then our happiness would be complete. I have prayed for many years that you would come—and never go away again! When Hepsibah went to his cot in the loft, he stood for a moment with his lighted candle beside Jeems's bed where the boy lay sleeping with the cloth of velvet close to his hands, a smile on his lips.
Jeems was dreaming, and the dream took the smile away and put a grimmer thing in its place, and looking down on it Hepsibah thought of Henri Bulain's last words and his sister's prayer, and his lips moved whisperingly to himself, "They can't keep it from you, lad—hope nor prayer nor all their faith. It's coming, and when it comes you'll strike and strike hard, and it's then you'll be what you're bound t'be, Jeems—a fighting man! In the candle glow the piece of red velvet seemed to answer Hepsibah Adams, but seeing no farther with his eyes, and going no deeper with his thoughts, the trader undressed himself quietly, snuffed his candle, and went to bed.
Catherine's breakfast was on the table with the break of sunrise, and Jeems was even ahead of that, helping his father with the chores. The ox was fed and the cart ready for a day's rough travel before his Uncle Hepsibah came down from his sleep. Talk of war and massacre and death had left no shadow in Catherine's heart, and Hepsibah could hear her singing as he went with naked arms and shoulders to the spring near the cabin and doused himself in its ice-cold water. The sound of her voice made him pause and face the south, where the dusk and mists of early morning were lifting quickly over the wilderness.
His wide shoulders twitched as if the chill of the water had sent a shock through them, and he marked the swellings and dips of the timbered solitudes of Forbidden Valley, and saw where the Mohawks would enter it and where they would come out if his prediction and his fears came true. Then he heard Henri and Jeems laughing near the barn as if one or the other had turned a joke or found something humorous in his work. With the shiver still in his blood, he turned to the water of the spring again and found Odd standing close behind him, also facing the stillness and mystery of the valley, his nose sniffing the air, and his eyes—as the man's had been a moment before—filled with a steadiness and tenseness of look which had in it a sombre and voiceless foreboding.
Hepsibah stared, for about them birds were singing, gray wings of pigeons were whirring through the air, crows were cawing in the edge of the woods, and cheerful voices were coming from the barn—all with the red glow of day breaking over the forests in the east—yet the dog was stiffly alert and unresponsive, looking past him into Forbidden Valley. Not now, but soon! When Jeems went ahead of his father and uncle to Lussan's place, he did not burden himself with unnecessary habiliments of either peace or war. He wore his old suit of brown homespun cloth, with Indian-made moccasins and leggings of doeskin, and on his head was a frontiersman's cap with an eagle feather in it.
From under this cap his blond hair fell with its ends touching his shoulders, and with only his bow for a weapon his slim young body was free and buoyant and much handsomer than it had been the previous day with its carefully chosen raiment and warlike accoutrements. A part of Jeems's very soul was his love for nature, a passion which was claiming him even more completely than it had his father and mother, though he had not begun to express it clearly even to them.
From his earliest days, both Henri and Catherine had sown in him the seeds which had now sprung up to shape the future of the man, and in the example of their own tolerant and nature-loving lives they had implanted in him convictions and truths which back in Catherine's puritanical New England home would have been regarded as blasphemous.
Catherine had taught him that all things had souls and language, even flowers and trees and the birds and beasts they slew for food, and that while destruction of life for the achievement of necessities was neither wrong nor to be condemned, wanton destruction was a sin which only God Himself could forgive. In further proof that God had intended one form of life to exist upon another, and yet within reason and judgment and charity, Henri Bulain never lost an opportunity to unveil for his boy the hidden and fascinating manifestations of life in the wilderness.
Thus Jeems had come to understand that, from the smallest insect to the largest beast, living things were ceaselessly nourishing themselves upon other living things in such a balanced and intelligent way that no one thing in nature ever completely destroyed another. In New France, where freedom of speech and the poetry and gentler side of life had found a soil in which to grow, such beliefs as these could be publicly expressed without fear or danger; but had Catherine been in her girlhood home she would have shielded Jeems in a cloak of ignorance, for the days were not gone in the Colonies when the powers of Satan were accredited to those whose new ideas or broader visions struck at the deeply rooted and narrowly prescribed laws of religious thought.
But with this presence of language and the power of heaven in the forests there were also other interests for Jeems. The blood in his veins demanded excitement and activity, and his was only an intermittent success in living up to what had been so basically a part of the teachings of his parents.
There were many times when he killed sheerly for the thrill of slaughter, for the temptations about him were without number and exceedingly great. The woods and hills and meadows were alive with game. It was so plentiful that wild turkeys were selling for a shilling apiece in Boston, pigeons a penny a dozen, and fat young deer as cheaply as six-pence each, while in the town of Albany the prices were even lower and turkeys were selling for fourpence, and a stag for a cheap jackknife or a few iron nails.
Squirrels were so numerous that in this same year of Pennsylvania paid threepence a head for six hundred thousand that were killed as pests. But this morning Jeems had brought his bow and quiver of arrows only because they were as much a part of him as the clothes he wore and he had no desire to inflict his might upon bird or beast.
He was filled with exultation mingled with a determined eagerness. He knew he would fight if Paul Tache was at Lussan's place, and what was going to happen in that fight was as definitely fixed in his mind. He was on his way to elevate himself to supreme heights in the opinion of Marie Antoinette Tonteur—after he had given her the piece of velvet.
The glory of the morning itself was in his blood. The sweetness of the hills and opens, the song of birds, the beauty of blue sky and green earth all combined in a responsive chord to the song that was in his heart, a song of emancipation almost—of deliverance from the oppression of a mind bullied and subdued until this hour.
And now that he was on the point of achieving the fulfilment of a positively settled act, he wondered why it had not happened before. The next moment he was informed that the French were in full retreat. He received the news as one awakened from a dream, and immediately gave orders that a regiment be placed at the Charles River bridge to cut off the enemy's retreat.
Then, turning upon his side, he murmured in a low, sweet voice, "Now God be praised, I shall die in peace," and a moment later his soul had passed into eternity. A similar fate befell Montcalm, the noblest Frenchman of them all. He had been ill supported by the governor, the envious Vaudreuil, and it seemed fitting now that he should yield his life with the cause which he could no longer sustain.
While guiding his flying troops toward the city gates, he received a wound that caused his death. On being informed that his wound was mortal, he answered, "I am glad of it. The body of the dead commander, followed by a groaning and sobbing multitude, was borne through the dusky streets of the city. Beneath the floor of the Ursuline Convent, in a grave partially made by a bursting shell, the remains of the greatest Frenchman that ever set foot on American soil were laid the rest.
Measured by its results, the battle of Quebec was one of the most important ever fought in Amerba. France made a desperate effort the following year to recover the city, but an English fleet came to the rescue, and the effort was vain. Montreal soon after surrendered to General Amherst, and French dominion in America was ended.
The conflict had been raging at intervals for a hundred years. The sum of human life and treasure that had been sacrificed by the two rival powers for supremacy in North America was beyond all calculation. The fall of Quebec practically ended the war in America, but a treaty of peace was not signed until three years later, owing to the mighty conflict, known as the Seven Years' War, that was still raging in Europe.
Meantime Spain came to the rescue of France, and in consequence lost possession, for a time, of Cuba and the Phillippine Islands, which were conquered by England in The Treaty of Paris, signed in , stands alone among treaties for the magnitude of its land cessions. England gave Cuba and the Philippines back to Spain and received Florida instead. France ceded to Spain, in compensation for Florida, the city of New Orleans and that vast tract west of the Mississippi known as "Louisiana. Thus France lost everything, and henceforth that country had no footing on the mainland in the Western Hemisphere.
But these vast land cessions did not constitute the chief results of this conflict. As before stated, the trend of civilization in North America was to he determined by the outcome of the French and Indian War. Gallican civilization differed widely, as it does to this day, from Anglo-Saxon; and the result of this war was that the latter must prevail, not only in the future nation that was soon to come into existence, but also in the vast dominion on the north now wrested from France to become a part of the British Empire. The war did much also for the English colonists. It brought them into contact with one another, led them to see as never before that their interests and destiny were common, and prepared them for the political union that was soon to follow.
It awakened in them a selfconsciousness, and, as will be noticed on a future page, brought out clearly the true relations between them and the mother country. While on the deck of one of the boats he recited with deep pathos portions of Gray's "Elegy," especially the stanza ending with -- "The paths of glory lead but to the grave. Footnotes 1 Parkman, Vol. II, p. Transcribed by Kathy Leigh.