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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWyandotte; Or, The Hutted Knoll: A Tale - Chapter 16
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Wyandotte; Or, The Hutted Knoll: A Tale - Chapter 16 Post by :mac2k Category :Long Stories Author :James Fenimore Cooper Date :May 2012 Read :2598

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Wyandotte; Or, The Hutted Knoll: A Tale - Chapter 16

Chapter XVI

Anxious, she hovers o'er the web the while,
Reads, as it grows, thy figured story there;
Now she explains the texture with a smile,
And now the woof interprets with a tear.

Fawcett.

All Maud's feelings were healthful and natural. She had no exaggerated sentiments, and scarcely art enough to control or to conceal any of the ordinary impulses of her heart. We are not about to relate a scene, therefore, in which a long-cherished but hidden miniature of the young man is to play a conspicuous part, and to be the means of revealing to two lovers the state of their respective hearts; but one of a very different character. It is true, Maud had endeavoured to make, from memory, one or two sketches of "Bob's" face; but she had done it openly, and under the cognizance of the whole family. This she might very well do, indeed, in her usual character of a sister, and excite no comments. In these efforts, her father and mother, and Beulah, had uniformly pronounced her success to be far beyond their hopes; but Maud, herself, had thrown them all aside, half-finished, dissatisfied with her own labours. Like the author, whose fertile imagination fancies pictures that defy his powers of description, her pencil ever fell far short of the face that her memory kept so constantly in view. This sketch wanted animation, that gentleness, another fire, and a fourth candour; in short, had Maud begun a thousand all would have been deficient, in her eyes, in some great essential of perfection. Still, she had no secret about her efforts, and half-a-dozen of these very sketches lay uppermost in her portfolio, when she spread it, and its contents, before the eyes of the original.

Major Willoughby thought Maud had never appeared more beautiful than as she moved about making her little preparations for the exhibition. Pleasure heightened her colour; and there was such a mixture of frank, sisterly regard, in every glance of her eye, blended, however, with sensitive feeling, and conscious womanly reserve, as made her a thousand times--measuring amounts by the young man's sensations--more interesting than he had ever seen her. The lamp gave but an indifferent light for a gallery, but it was sufficient to betray Maud's smiles, and blushes, and each varying emotion of her charming countenance.

"Now, Bob," she said, opening her portfolio, with all her youthful frankness and confidence, "you know well enough I am not one of those old masters of whom you used to talk so much, but your own pupil--the work of your own hands; and if you find more faults than you have expected, you will have the goodness to remember that the master has deserted his peaceful pursuits to go a campaigning--there--that is a caricature of your own countenance, staring you in the face, as a preface!"

"This is like, I should think--was it done from memory, dear Maud?"

"How else should it be done? All our entreaties have never been able to persuade you to send us even a miniature. You are wrong in this, Bob"-- by no accident did Maud now ever call the major, Robert, though Beulah often did. There was a desperate sort of familiarity in the _Bob_, that she could easily adopt; but the 'Robert' had a family sound that she disliked; and yet a more truly feminine creature than Maud Meredith did not exist--"You are wrong, Bob; for mother actually pines to possess your picture, in some shape or other. It was this wish that induced me to attempt these things."

"And why has no one of them ever been finished?--Here are six or eight beginnings, and all, more or less, like, I should think, and not one of them more than half done. Why have I been treated so cavalierly, Miss Maud?"

The fair artist's colour deepened a little; but her smile was quite as sweet as it was saucy, as she replied--

"Girlish caprice, I suppose. I like neither of them; and of that which a woman dislikes, she will have none. To be candid, however, I hardly think there is one of them all that does you justice."

"No?--what fault have you to find with this? This might be worked up to something very natural."

"It would be _a natural, then--it wants expression, fearfully."

"And this, which is still better. That might be finished while I am here, and I will give you some sittings."

"Even mother dislikes _that_--there is too much of the Major of Foot in it. Mr. Woods says it is a martial picture."

"And ought not a soldier to look like a soldier? To me, now, that seems a capital beginning."

"It is not what mother, or Beulah--or father--or even any of us wants. It is too full of Bunker's Hill. Your friends desire to see you as you appear to _them_; not as you appear to your enemies."

"Upon my word, Maud, you have made great advances in the art! This is a view of the Knoll, and the dam--and here is another of the mill, and the water-fall--all beautifully done, and in water-colours, too. What is this?--Have you been attempting a sketch of yourself!--The glass must have been closely consulted, my fair coquette, to enable you to do this!"

The blood had rushed into Maud's face, covering it with a rich tell- tale mantle, when her companion first alluded to the half-finished miniature he held in his hand; then her features resembled ivory, as the revulsion of feeling, that overcame her confusion, followed. For some little time she sate, in breathless stillness, with her looks cast upon the floor, conscious that Robert Willoughby was glancing from her own face to the miniature, and from the miniature to her face again, making his observations and comparisons. Then she ventured to raise her eyes timidly towards his, half-imploringly, as if to beseech him to proceed to something else. But the young man was too much engrossed with the exceedingly pretty sketch he held in his hand, to understand her meaning, or to comply with her wishes.

"This is yourself, Maud!" he cried--"though in a strange sort of dress--why have you spoilt so beautiful a thing, by putting it in this masquerade?"

"It is not myself--it is a copy of--a miniature I possess."

"A miniature you possess!--Of whom can you possess so lovely a miniature, and I never see it?"

A faint smile illumined the countenance of Maud, and the blood began to return to her cheeks. She stretched her hand over to the sketch, and gazed on it, with intense feeling, until the tears began to stream from her eyes.

"Maud--dear, _dearest Maud--have I said that which pains you?--I do not understand all this, but I confess there are secrets to which I can have no claim to be admitted--"

"Nay, Bob, this is making too much of what, after all, must sooner or later be spoken of openly among us. I believe that to be a copy of a miniature of my mother."

"Of mother, Maud--you are beside yourself--it has neither her features, expression, nor the colour of her eyes. It is the picture of a far handsomer woman, though mother is still pretty; and it is perfection!"

"I mean of _my mother--of Maud Yeardley; the wife of my father, Major Meredith."

This was said with a steadiness that surprised our heroine herself, when she came to think over all that had passed, and it brought the blood to her companion's heart, in a torrent.

"This is strange!" exclaimed Willoughby, after a short pause. "And _my mother--_our mother has given you the original, and told you this? I did not believe she could muster the resolution necessary to such an act."

"She has not. You know, Bob, I am now of age; and my father, a month since, put some papers in my hand, with a request that I would read them. They contain a marriage settlement and other things of that sort, which show I am mistress of more money than I should know what to do with, if it were not for dear little Evert--but, with such a precious being to love, one never can have too much of anything. With the papers were many trinkets, which I suppose father never looked at. This beautiful miniature was among the last; and I feel certain, from some remarks I ventured to make, mother does not know of its existence."

As Maud spoke, she drew the original from her bosom, and placed it in Robert Willoughby's hands. When this simple act was performed, her mind seemed relieved; and she waited, with strong natural interest, to hear Robert Willoughby's comments.

"This, then, Maud, was your _own_--your _real mother!" the young man said, after studying the miniature, with a thoughtful countenance, for near a minute. "It is _like her--like you."

"Like _her_, Bob?--How can you know anything or that?--I suppose it to be my mother, because I think it like myself, and because it is not easy to say who else it can be. But you cannot know anything of this?"

"You are mistaken, Maud--I remember both your parents well--it could not be otherwise, as they were the bosom friends of my own. You will remember that I am now eight-and-twenty, and that I had seen seven of these years when you were born. Was my first effort in arms never spoken of in your presence?"

"Never--perhaps it was not a subject for me to hear, if it were in any manner connected with my parents."

"You are right--that must be the reason it has been kept from your ears."

"Surely, surely, I am old enough to hear it _now_--_you will conceal nothing from me, Bob?"

"If I would, I could not, now. It is too late, Maud. You know the manner in which Major Meredith died?--"

"He fell in battle, I have suspected," answered the daughter, in a suppressed, doubtful tone--"for no one has ever directly told me even that."

"He did, and I was at his side. The French and savages made an assault on us, about an hour earlier than this, and our two fathers rushed to the pickets to repel it--I was a reckless boy, anxious even at that tender age to see a fray, and was at their side. Your father was one of the first that fell; but Joyce and _our father beat the Indians back from his body, and saved it from mutilation. Your mother was buried in the same grave, and then you came to us, where our have been ever since."

Maud's tears flowed fast, and yet it was not so much in grief as in a gush of tenderness she could hardly explain to herself. Robert Willoughby understood her emotions, and perceived that he might proceed.

"I was old enough to remember both your parents well--I was a favourite, I believe, with, certainly was much petted by, both--I remember your birth, Maud, and was suffered to carry you in my arms, ere you were a week old."

"Then you have known me for an impostor from the beginning, Bob--must have often thought of me as such!"

"I have known you for the daughter of Lewellen Meredith, certainly; and not for a world would I have you the real child of Hugh Willoughby--"

"Bob!" exclaimed Maud, her heart beating violently, a rush of feeling nearly overcoming her, in which alarm, consciousness, her own secret, dread of something wrong, and a confused glimpse of the truth, were all so blended, as nearly to deprive her, for the moment, of the use of her senses.

It is not easy to say precisely what would have followed this tolerably explicit insight into the state of the young man's feelings, had not an outcry on the lawn given the major notice that his presence was needed below. With a few words of encouragement to Maud, first taking the precaution to extinguish the lamp, lest its light should expose her to a shot in passing some of the open loops, he sprang towards the stairs, and was at his post again, literally within a minute. Nor was he a moment too soon. The alarm was general, and it was understood an assault was momentarily expected.

The situation of Robert Willoughby was now tantalizing in the extreme. Ignorant of what was going on in front, he saw no enemy in the rear to oppose, and was condemned to inaction, at a moment when he felt that, by training, years, affinity to the master of the place, and all the usual considerations, he ought to be in front, opposed to the enemy. It is probable he would have forgotten his many cautions to keep close, had not Maud appeared in the library, and implored him to remain concealed, at least until there was the certainty his presence was necessary elsewhere.

At that instant, every feeling but those connected with the danger, was in a degree forgotten. Still, Willoughby had enough consideration for Maud to insist on her joining her mother and Beulah, in the portion of the building where the absence of external windows rendered their security complete, so long as the foe could be kept without the palisades. In this he succeeded, but not until he had promised, again and again, to be cautious in not exposing himself at any of the windows, the day having now fairly dawned, and particularly not to let it be known in the Hut that he was present until it became indispensable.

The major felt relieved when Maud had left him. For her, he had no longer any immediate apprehensions, and he turned all his faculties to the sounds of the assault which he supposed to be going on in front. To his surprise, however, no discharges of fire-arms succeeded; and even the cries, and orders, and calling from point to point, that are a little apt to succeed an alarm in an irregular garrison, had entirely ceased; and it became doubtful whether the whole commotion did not proceed from a false alarm. The Smashes, in particular, whose vociferations for the first few minutes had been of a very decided kind, were now mute; and the exclamations of the women and children had ceased.

Major Willoughby was too good a soldier to abandon his post without orders, though bitterly did he regret the facility with which he had consented to accept so inconsiderable a command. He so far disregarded his instructions, however, as to place his whole person before a window, in order to reconnoitre; for it was now broad daylight, though the sun had not yet risen. Nothing rewarded this careless exposure; and then it flashed upon his mind that, as the commander of a separate detachment, he had a perfect right to employ any of his immediate subordinates, either as messengers or scouts. His choice of an agent was somewhat limited, it is true, lying between Mike and the Plinys; after a moment of reflection, he determined to choose the former.

Mike was duly relieved from his station at the door, the younger Pliny being substituted for him, and he was led into the library. Here he received hasty but clear orders from the major how he was to proceed, and was thrust, rather than conducted from the room, in his superior's haste to hear the tidings. Three or four minutes might have elapsed, when an irregular volley of musketry was heard in front; then succeeded an answering discharge, which sounded smothered and distant. A single musket came from the garrison a minute later, and then Mike rushed into the library, his eyes dilated with a sort of wild delight, dragging rather than carrying his piece after him.

"The news!" exclaimed the major, as soon as he got a glimpse of his messenger. "What mean these volleys, and how comes on my father in front?"

"Is it what do they mane?" answered Mike. "Well, there's but one maning to powther and ball, and that's far more sarious than shillelah wor-r- k. If the rapscallions didn't fire a whole plathoon, as serjeant Joyce calls it, right at the Knoll, my name is not Michael O'Hearn, or my nature one that dales in giving back as good as I get."

"But the volley came first from the house--why did my father order his people to make the first discharge?"

"For the same r'ason that he didn't. Och! there was a big frown on his f'atures, when he heard the rifles and muskets; and Mr. Woods never pr'ached more to the purpose than the serjeant himself, ag'in that same. But to think of them rapscallions answering a fire that was ag'in orders! Not a word did his honour say about shooting any of them, and they just pulled their triggers on the house all the same as if it had been logs growing in senseless and uninhabited trees, instead of a rational and well p'apled abode. Och! arn't they vagabonds!"

"If you do not wish to drive me mad, man, tell me clearly what has past, that I may understand you."

"Is it understand that's wanting?--Lord, yer honour, if ye can understand that Misther Strhides, that's yon, ye'll be a wise man. He calls hisself a 'son of the poor'atin's,' and poor 'ating it must have been, in the counthry of his faders, to have produced so lane and skinny a baste as that same. The orders was as partic'lar as tongue of man could utter, and what good will it all do?--Ye're not to fire, says serjeant Joyce, till ye all hear the wor-r-d; and the divil of a wor-r- d did they wait for; but blaze away did they, jist becaase a knot of savages comes on to them rocks ag'in, where they had possession all yesterday afthernoon; and sure it is common enough to breakfast where a man sups."

"You mean to say that the Indians have reappeared on the rocks, and that some of Strides's men fired at them, without orders?--Is that the history of the affair?"

"It's jist that, majjor; and little good, or little har-r-m, did it do. Joel, and his poor'atin's, blazed away at 'em, as if they had been so many Christians--and 'twould have done yer heart good to have heard the serjeant belabour them with hard wor-r-ds, for their throuble. There's none of the poor'atin' family in the serjeant, who's a mighty man wid his tongue!"

"And the savages returned the volley--which explains the distant discharge I heard."

"Anybody can see, majjor, that ye're yer father's son, and a souldier bor-r-n. Och! who would of t'ought of that, but one bred and bor-r-n in the army? Yes; the savages sent back as good as they got, which was jist not'in' at all, seem' that no one is har-r-m'd."

"And the single piece that followed--there was one discharge, by itself?"

Mike opened his mouth with a grin that might have put either of the Plinys to shame, it being rather a favourite theory with the descendants of the puritans--or "poor'atin's," as the county Leitrim- man called Joel and his set--that the Irishman was more than a match for any son of Ham at the Knoll, in the way of capacity about this portion of the human countenance. The major saw that there was a good deal of self-felicitation in the expression of Mike's visage, and he demanded an explanation in more direct terms.

"'Twas I did it, majjor, and 'twas as well fired a piece as ye've ever hear-r-d in the king's sarvice. Divil bur-r-n me, if I lets Joel get any such advantage over me, as to have a whole battle to himself. No-- no--as soon as I smelt his Yankee powther, and could get my own musket cock'd, and pointed out of the forthifications, I lets 'em have it, as if it had been so much breakfast ready cooked to their hands. 'Twas well pointed, too; for I'm not the man to shoot into a fri'nd's countenance."

"And you broke the orders for a reason no better than the fact that Strides had broken them before?"

"Divil a bit, majjor--Joel had _broken the orders, ye see and that settled the matter. The thing that is once broken is broken, and wor-r-ds can't mend it, any more than for bearin' to fire a gun will mend it."

By dint of cross-questioning, Robert Willoughby finally succeeded in getting something like an outline of the truth from Mike. The simple facts were, that the Indians had taken possession of their old bivouac, as soon as the day dawned, and had commenced their preparations for breakfast, when Joel, the miller, and a few of that set, in a paroxysm of valour, had discharged a harmless volley at them; the distance rendering the attempt futile. This fire had been partially returned, the whole concluding with the _finale from the Irishman's gun, as has been related. As it was now too light to apprehend a surprise, and the ground in front of the palisade had no very dangerous covers, Robert Willoughby was emboldened to send one of the Plinys to request an interview with his father. In a few minutes the latter appeared, accompanied by Mr. Woods.

"The same party has reappeared, and seems disposed to occupy its old position near the mill," said the captain, in answer to his son's inquiries. "It is difficult to say what the fellows have in view; and there are moments when I think there are more or less whites among them. I suggested as much to Strides, chaplain; and I thought the fellow appeared to receive the notion as if he thought it might be true."

"Joel is a little of an enigma to me, captain Willoughby," returned the chaplain; "sometimes seizing an idea like a cat pouncing upon a rat, and then coquetting with it, as the same cat will play with a mouse, when it has no appetite for food."

"Och! he's a precious poor'atin'!" growled Mike, from his corner of the room.

"If whites are among the savages, why should they not make themselves known?" demanded Robert Willoughby. "Your character, sir, is no secret; and they must be acquainted with their own errand here."

"I will send for Strides, and get his opinion a little more freely," answered the captain, after a moment of deliberation. "You will withdraw, Bob; though, by leaving your door a little ajar, the conversation will reach you; and prevent the necessity of a repetition."

As Robert Willoughby was not unwilling to hear what the overseer might have to say in the present state of things, he did not hesitate about complying, withdrawing into his own room as requested, and leaving the door ajar, in a way to prevent suspicion of his presence, as far as possible. But, Joel Strides, like all bad men, ever suspected the worst. The innocent and pure of mind alone are without distrust; while one constituted morally, like the overseer, never permitted his thoughts to remain in the tranquillity that is a fruit of confidence. Conscious of his own evil intentions, his very nature put on armour against the same species of machinations in others, as the hedge-hog rolls himself into a ball, and thrusts out his quills, at the sight of the dog. Had not captain Willoughby been one of those who are slow to see evil, he might have detected something wrong in Joel's feelings, by the very first glance he cast about him, on entering the library.

In point of fact, Strides' thoughts had not been idle since the rencontre of the previous night. Inquisitive, and under none of the usual restraints of delicacy, he had already probed all he dared approach on the subject; and, by this time, had become perfectly assured that there was some mystery about the unknown individual whom he had met in his master's company. To own the truth, Joel did not suspect that major Willoughby had again ventured so far into the lion's den; but he fancied that some secret agent of the crown was at the Hut, and that the circumstance offered a fair opening for helping the captain down the ladder of public favour, and to push himself up a few of its rounds. He was not sorry, therefore, to be summoned to this conference, hoping it might lead to some opening for farther discoveries.

"Sit down, Strides"--said captain Willoughby, motioning towards a chair so distant from the open door of the bed-room, and so placed as to remove the danger of too close a proximity--"Sit down--I wish to consult you about the state of things towards the mills. To me it seems as If there were more pale-faces than red-skins among our visitors."

"That's not onlikely, captain--the people has got to be greatly given to paintin' and imitatin', sin' the hatchet has been dug up ag'in the British. The tea-boys were all in Indian fashion."

"True; but, why should white men assume such a disguise to come to the Knoll? I am not conscious of having an enemy on earth who could meditate harm to me or mine."

Alas! poor captain. That a man at sixty should yet have to learn that the honest, and fair-dealing, and plain-dealing, and affluent--for captain Willoughby was affluent in the eyes of those around him--that such a man should imagine he was without enemies, was to infer that the Spirit of Darkness had ceased to exercise his functions among men. Joel knew better, though he did not perceive any necessity, just then, for letting the fact reach the ears of the party principally concerned.

"A body might s'pose the captain was pop'lar, if any man is pop'lar," answered the overseer; "nor do I know that visiters in paint betoken onpopularity to a person in these times more than another. May I ask why the captain consaits these Injins a'n't Injins? To me, they have a desperate savage look, though I a'n't much accustomed to red skin usages."

"Their movements are too open, and yet too uncertain, for warriors of the tribes. I think a savage, by this time, would have made up his mind to act as friend or foe."

Joel seemed struck with the idea; and the expression of his countenance, which on entering had been wily, distrustful and prying, suddenly changed to that of deep reflection.

"Has the captain seen anything else, partic'lar, to confirm this idee?" he asked.

"Their encampment, careless manner of moving, and unguarded exposure of their persons, are all against their being Indians."

"The messenger they sent across the meadow, yesterday, _seemed to me to be a Mohawk?"

"He was. Of _his being a real red-skin there can be no question. But he could neither speak nor understand English. The little that passed between us was in Low Dutch. Our dialogue was short; for, apprehensive of treachery, I brought it to a close sooner than I might otherwise have done."

"Yes; treachery is a cruel thing," observed the conscientious Joel; "a man can't be too strongly on his guard ag'in it. Does the captain ra'ally calcilate on defending the house, should a serious attempt be brought forward for the day?"

"Do I! That is an extraordinary question, Mr. Strides. Why have I built in this mode, if I have no such intention?--why palisaded?--why armed and garrisoned, if not in earnest?"

"I s'posed all this might have been done to prevent a surprise, but not in any hope of standin' a siege. I should be sorry to see all our women and children shut up under one roof, if the inimy came ag'in us, in airnest, with fire and sword."

"And I should be sorry to see them anywhere else. But, this is losing time. My object in sending for you, Joel, was to learn your opinion about the true character of our visiters. Have you any opinion, or information to give me, on that point?"

Joel placed his elbow on his knee, and his chin in the palm of his hand, and pondered on what had been suggested, with seeming good-will, and great earnestness.

"If any one could be found venturesome enough to go out with a flag," he at length remarked, "the whole truth might be come at, in a few minutes."

"And who shall I employ? Cheerfully would I go myself, were such a step military, or at all excusable in one in my situation."

"If the likes of myself will sarve yer honour's turn," put in Mike, promptly, and yet with sufficient diffidence as regarded his views of his own qualifications--"there'll be nobody to gainsay that same; and it isn't wilcome that I nade tell you, ye'll be to use me as ye would yer own property."

"I hardly think Mike would answer," observed Joel, not altogether without a sneer. "He scurce knows an Indian from a white man; when it comes to the paint, it would throw him into dreadful confusion."

"If ye thinks that I am to be made to believe in any more Ould Nicks, Misther Strhides, then ye're making a mistake in my nature. Let but the captain say the word, and I'll go to the mill and bring in a grist of them same, or l'ave my own body for toll."

"I do not doubt you in the least, Mike," captain Willoughby mildly observed; "but there will be no occasion, just now, of your running any such risks. I shall be able to find other truce-bearers."

"It seems the captain has his man in view," Joel said, keenly eyeing his master. "Perhaps 'tis the same I saw out with him last night. That's a reliable person, I do s'pose."

"You have hit the nail on the head. It was the man who was out last night, at the same time I was out myself, and his name is Joel Strides."

"The captain's a little musical, this morning--waal--if go I must, as there was two on us out, let us go to these savages together. I saw enough of _that man, to know he is reliable; and if he'll go, _I_'ll go."

"Agreed"--said Robert Willoughby, stepping into the library--"I take you at your word, Mr. Strides; you and I will run what risks there may be, in order to relieve this family from its present alarming state."

The captain was astounded, though he knew not whether to be displeased or to rejoice. As for Mike, his countenance expressed great dissatisfaction; for he ever fancied things were going wrong so long as Joel obtained his wishes. Strides, himself, threw a keen glance at the stranger, recognised him at a glance, and had sufficient self-command to conceal his discovery, though taken completely by surprise. The presence of the major, however, immediately removed all his objections to the proposed expedition; since, should the party prove friendly to the Americans, he would be safe on his own account; or, should it prove the reverse, a king's officer could not fail to be a sufficient protection.

"The gentleman's a total stranger to me," Joel hypocritically resumed; "but as the captain has belief in him, I must have the same. I am ready to do the ar'nd, therefore, as soon as it is agreeable."

"This is well, captain Willoughby," put in the major, in order to anticipate any objections from his father; "and the sooner a thing of this sort is done, the better will it be for all concerned. I am ready to proceed this instant; and I take it this worthy man--I think you called him Strides--is quite as willing."

Joel signified his assent; and the captain, perceiving no means of retreat, was fain to yield. He took the major into the bed-room, however, and held a minute's private discourse, when he returned, and bade the two go forth together.

"Your companion has his instructions, Joel," the captain observed, as they left the library together; "and you will follow his advice. Show the white flag as soon as you quit the gate; if they are true warriors, it must be respected."

Robert Willoughby was too intent on business, and too fearful of the reappearance and reproachful looks of Maud, to delay. He had passed the court, and was at the outer gate, before any of the garrison even noted his appearance among them. Here, indeed, the father's heart felt a pang; and, but for his military pride, the captain would gladly have recalled his consent. It was too late, however; and, squeezing his hand, he suffered his son to pass outward. Joel followed steadily, as to appearances, though not without misgivings as to what might be the consequences to himself and his growing family.

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Wyandotte; Or, The Hutted Knoll: A Tale - Chapter 15
Chapter XV----"I could teach you, How to choose right, but then I am forsworn; So will I never be; so may you miss me; But if you do, you'll make me wish a sin That I had been forsworn."---- _Portia_.Captain Willoughby knew that the hour which preceded the return of light, was that in which the soldier had the most to apprehend, when in the field. This is the moment when it is usual to attempt surprises; and it was, in particular, the Indian's hour of blood. Orders had been left, accordingly, to call him at
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