The Lords of the Wild
By Joseph A. Altsheler
Public Domain Books
Chapter XIV: Ticonderoga
The French army rose with the sun, the drums beating the call to battle. Montcalm stationed the battalions of Languedoc and La Sarre on the left with Bourlamaque to command them, on the right De Levis led the battalions of Béarn, Guienne and La Reine. Montcalm himself stood with the battalion of Royal Roussillon in the center, and St. Luc was by his side. Volunteers held the sunken ground between the breastwork and the outlet of Lake George, a strong force of regulars and Canadians was on the side of Lake Champlain under the guns of the fort there. Then, having taken their places, all the parts of the army went to work again, strengthening the defenses with ax and spade, improving every moment that might be left.
All thought of escape left Robert’s mind in the mighty and thrilling drama that was about to be played before him. Once more he stared at the long line of the lake, and then his whole attention was for the circling forest, and the hills. That was where the army of his country lay. Nothing was to be expected from the lake. Victory would come from the woods, and he looked so long at the trees that they blurred together into one mass. He knew that the English and Americans were near, but just how near he could not gather from those around him.
He brushed his eyes to clear them, and continued to study the forest. The sun, great and brilliant, was flooding it with light, gilding the slopes and crests of Defiance, and tinging the green of the leaves with gold. Nothing stirred there. The wilderness seemed silent, as if men never fought in its depths. Time went slowly on. After all, the army might not advance to the attack that day. If so, his disappointment would be bitter. He wanted a great victory, and he wanted it at once.
His eyes suddenly caught a gleam on the crest of Defiance. A bit of red flashed among the trees. He thought it was the uniform of a British soldier, and his heart beat hard. The army was surely advancing, the attack would be made, and the victory would be won that day, not on the morrow nor next week, but before the sun set.
The blood pounded in his temples. He looked at the French. They, too, had seen the scarlet gleam on Defiance and they were watching. Montcalm and St. Luc began to talk together earnestly. De Levis and Bourlamaque walked back and forth among their troops, but their gaze was upon the crest. The men lay down ax and spade for the time, and reached for their arms. Robert saw the sunlight glittering on musket and bayonet, and once more he thrilled at the thought of the great drama on which the curtain was now rising.
Another scarlet patch appeared on the crest and then more. He knew that the scouts and skirmishers were there, doubtless in strong force. It was likely that the rangers, who would be in forest green, were more numerous than the English, and the attack could not now be far away. A sharp crack, a puff of white smoke on the hill, and the first shot of Ticonderoga was fired. Then came a volley, but the French made no reply. None of the bullets had reached them. Robert did not know it then, but the gleam came from the red blankets of Iroquois Indians, the allies of the English, and not from English uniforms. They kept up a vigorous but harmless fire for a short while, and then drew off.
Silence descended once more on the forest, and Robert was puzzled. It could not be possible that this was to be the only attack. The smoke of the rifles was already drifting away from the crest, gone like summer vapor. The French were returning to their work with ax and spade. The forest covered and enclosed everything. No sound came from it. Montcalm and St. Luc, walking up and down, began to talk together again. They looked no longer toward the crest of Defiance, but watched the southern wilderness.
The work with the ax increased. Montcalm had no mind to lose the precious hours. More trees fell fast, and they were added to the formidable works. The sun grew hotter and poured down sheaves of fiery rays, but the toilers disregarded it, swinging the axes with muscles that took no note of weariness. Robert thought the morning would last forever. An hour before noon De Galissonnière was passing, and, noticing him sitting on a low mound, he said:
“I did not know what had become of you, Mr. Lennox, but I see that you, like ourselves, await the battle.”
“So I do,” said Robert as lightly as he could, “but it seems to me that it’s somewhat delayed.”
“Not our fault, I assure you. Perhaps you didn’t think so earlier, but you see we’re willing to fight, no matter how great the odds.”
“I admit it. The Marquis de Montcalm has his courage–perhaps too much.”
De Galissonnière glanced at the strong works, and his smile was confident, but he merely said:
“It is for the future to tell.”
Then he went on, and Robert hoped that whatever happened the battle would spare the young Frenchman.
Up went the sun toward the zenith. A light wind rustled the foliage. Noon was near, and he began to wonder anew what had become of the advancing army. Suddenly, the echo of a crash came out of the forest in front. He stood erect, listening intently, and the sound rose again, but it was not an echo now. It was real, and he knew that the battle was at hand.
The crashes became continuous. Mingled with them were shouts, and a cloud of smoke began to float above the trees. The French fired a cannon as a signal, and, before the echoes of its report rolled away, every man dropped ax or spade, and was in his place, weapon in hand. The noise of the firing in front grew fast. Montcalm’s scouts and pickets were driven in, and the soldiers of the advancing army began to show among the trees. The French batteries opened. The roar in Robert’s ear was terrific, but he stood at his utmost height in order that he might see the assault. His eyes caught the gleam of uniforms and the flash of sunlight on bayonet and rifle. He knew now that his own people, dauntless and tenacious, were coming. He did not know that they had left their artillery behind, and that they expected to destroy the French army with bayonet and rifle and musket.
The fire from the French barrier increased in volume. Its crash beat heavily and continuously on the drums of Robert’s ears. A deadly sleet was beating upon the advancing English and Americans. Already their dead were heaping up in rows. Montcalm’s men showed their heads only above their works, their bodies were sheltered by the logs and they fired and fired into the charging masses until the barrels of rifles and muskets grew too hot for them to hold. Meanwhile they shouted with all their might: “Vive la France! Vive notre General! Vive le Roi!" and St. Luc, who stood always with Montcalm, hummed softly and under his breath: “Hier, sur le pont d’Avignon, j’ai oui chanter la belle.”
“It goes well,” he said to Montcalm.
“Aye, a fair beginning,” replied the Marquis.
Fire ran through French veins. No cannon balls were coming from the enemy to sweep down their defenses. Bullets from rifle and musket were beating in vain on their wooden wall, and before them came the foe, a vast, converging mass, a target that no one could miss. They were far from their own land, deep in the great North American wilderness, but as they saw it, they fought for the honor and glory of France, and to keep what was hers. They redoubled their shouts and fired faster and faster. A great cloud of smoke rose over the clearing and the forest, but through it the attacking army always advanced, a hedge of bayonets leading.
Robert saw everything clearly. His heart sank for a moment, and then leaped up again. Many of his own had fallen, but a great red curve was advancing. It was the British regulars, the best troops in the charge that Europe could furnish, and they would surely carry the wooden wall. As far as he could see, in front and to left and right, their bayonets flashed in the sun, and a cry of admiration sprang to his lips. Forward they came, their line even and beautiful, and then the tempest beat upon them. The entire French fire was concentrated upon the concave red lines. The batteries poured grape shot upon them and a sleet of lead cut through flesh and bone. Gaps were torn in their ranks, but the others closed up, and came on, the American Colonials on their flanks charging as bravely.
Robert suddenly remembered a vision of his, vague and fleeting then, but very real now. He was standing here at Ticonderoga, looking at the battle as it passed before him, and now it was no vision, but the truth. Had Tayoga’s Manitou opened the future to him for a moment? Then the memory was gone and the terrific drama of the present claimed his whole mind.
The red lines were not stopped. In the face of awful losses they were still coming. They were among the trees where the men were entangled with the boughs or ran upon the wooden spikes. Often they tripped and fell, but rising they returned to the charge, offering their breasts to the deadly storm that never diminished for an instant.
Robert walked back and forth in his little space. Every nerve was on edge. The smoke of the firing was in eye, throat and nostril, and his brain was hot. But confidence was again supreme. “They’ll come! They’ll come! Nothing can stop them!” he kept repeating to himself.
Now the Colonials on the flank pressed forward, and they also advanced through the lines of the regulars in front and charged with them. Together British and Americans climbed over the mass of fallen trees in face of the terrible fire, and reached the wooden wall itself, where the sleet beat directly upon their faces. For a long distance behind them, their dead and wounded lay in hundreds and hundreds.
Many of them tried to scale the barrier, but were beaten back. Now Montcalm, St. Luc, De Levis, Bourlamaque and all the French leaders made their mightiest efforts. The eye of the French commander swept the field. He neglected nothing. Never was a man better served by his lieutenants. St. Luc was at every threatened point, encouraging with voice and example. Bourlamaque received a dangerous wound, but refused to quit the field. Bougainville was hit, but his hurt was less severe, and he took no notice of it, two bullets pierced the hat of De Levis, St. Luc took a half dozen through his clothes and his body was grazed three times, but his gay and warlike spirit mounted steadily, and he hummed his little French air over and over again.
More British and Americans pressed to the wooden wall. The new Black Watch, stalwart Scotchmen, bagpipes playing, charged over everything. Two British columns made a powerful and tremendous attack upon the French right, where stood the valiant battalions of Béarn and Guienne. It seemed, for a while, that they might overwhelm everything. They were against the barrier itself, and were firing into the defense. Montcalm rushed to the spot with all the reserves he could muster. St. Luc sprang among the men and shouted to them to increase their fire. This point became the center of the battle, and its full fury was concentrated there. A mass of Highlanders, tearing at the wooden wall, refused to give back. Though they fell fast, a captain climbed up the barrier. Officers and men followed him. They stood a moment on the crest as if to poise themselves, and then leaped down among the French, where they were killed. Those who stood on the other side were swept by a hurricane of fire, and at last they yielded slowly.
Robert saw all, and he was seized with a great horror. The army was not crashing over everything. Those who entered the French works died there. The wooden wall held. Nowhere was the line of defense broken. Boats loaded with troops coming down the outlet of Lake George to turn the French left were repelled by the muskets of the Canadian volunteers. Some of the boats were sunk, and the soldiers struggled in the water, as cannon balls and bullets beat upon them.
His view of the field was blurred, for a while, by the smoke from so much firing, which floated in thickening clouds over all the open spaces and the edges of the forest. It produced curious optical illusions. The French loomed through it, increased fourfold in numbers, every individual man magnified in size. He saw them lurid and gigantic, pulling the triggers of their rifles or muskets, or working the batteries. The cannon also grew from twelve-pounders or eighteen-pounders into guns three or four times as large, and many stood where none had stood before.
The smoke continued to inflame his brain also, and it made him pass through great alternations of hope and fear. Now the army was going to sweep over the wooden wall in spite of everything. With sheer weight and bravery it would crush the French and take Ticonderoga. It must be. Because he wanted it to be, it was going to be. Then he passed to the other extreme. When one of the charges spent itself at the barrier, sending perhaps a few men over it, like foam from a wave that has reached its crest, his heart sank to the depths, and he was sure the British and Americans could not come again. Mortal men would not offer themselves so often to slaughter. If the firing died for a little space he was in deep despair, but his soul leaped up again as the charge came anew. It was certainly victory this time. Hope could not be crushed in him. His vivid fancy made him hear above the triumphant shouts of the French the deep cheers of the advancing army, the beating of drums and the playing of invisible bands.
All the time, whether in attack or retreat, the smoke continued to increase and to inflame and excite. It was like a gas, its taste was acrid and bitter as death. Robert coughed and tried to blow it away, but it returned in waves heavier than ever, and then he ceased to fight against it.
The British and American troops came again and again to the attack, their officers leading them on. Never had they shown greater courage or more willingness to die. When the first lines were cut down at the barrier, others took their places. They charged into the vast mass of fallen trees and against the spikes. Blinded by the smoke of so much firing, they nevertheless kept their faces toward the enemy and sought to see him. The fierce cheering of the French merely encouraged them to new attempts.
The battle went on for hours. It seemed days to Robert. Mass after mass of British and Colonials continued to charge upon the wooden wall, always to be broken down by the French fire, leaving heaps of their dead among those logs and boughs and on that bristling array of spikes. At last they advanced no more, twilight came over the field, the terrible fire that had raged since noon died, and the sun set upon the greatest military triumph ever won by France in the New World.
Twilight gathered over the most sanguinary field America had yet seen. In the east the dark was already at hand, but in the west the light from the sunken sun yet lingered, casting a scarlet glow alike over the fallen and the triumphant faces of the victors. Within the works where the French had stood fires were lighted, and everything there was brilliant, but outside, where so much valor had been wasted, the shadows that seemed to creep out of the illimitable forest grew thicker and thicker.
The wind moaned incessantly among the leaves, and the persistent smoke that had been so bitter in the throat and nostrils of Robert still hung in great clouds that the wind moved but little. From the woods came long, fierce howls. The wolves, no longer frightened by the crash of cannon and muskets, were coming, and under cover of bushes and floating smoke, they crept nearer and nearer.
Robert sat a long time, bewildered, stunned. The incredible had happened. He had seen it with his own eyes, and yet it was hard to believe that it was true. The great Anglo-American army had been beaten by a French force far less in numbers. Rather, it had beaten itself. That neglect to bring up the cannon had proved fatal, and the finest force yet gathered on the soil of North America had been cut to pieces. A prodigious opportunity had been lost by a commander who stayed a mile and a half in the rear, while his valiant men charged to certain death.
Young Lennox walked stiffly a few steps. No one paid any attention to him. In the dark, and amid the joyous excitement of the defenders, he might have been taken for a Frenchman. But he made no attempt, then, to escape. No such thought was in his mind for the moment. His amazement gave way to horror. He wanted to see what was beyond the wooden wall where he knew the dead and wounded lay, piled deep among the logs and sharpened boughs. Unbelievable it was, but it was true. His own eyes had seen and his own ears had heard. He listened to the triumphant shouts of the French, and his soul sank within him.
A few shots came from the forest now and then, but the great army had vanished, save for its fallen. Montcalm, still cautious, relaxing no vigilance, fearing that the enemy would yet come back with his cannon, walked among his troops and gave them thanks in person. Beer and wine in abundance, and food were served to them. Fires were lighted and the field that they had defended was to be their camp. Many scouts were sent into the forest to see what had become of the opposing army. Most of the soldiers, after eating and drinking, threw themselves upon the ground and slept, but it was long before the leader and any of his lieutenants closed their eyes. Although he felt a mighty joy over his great victory of the day, Montcalm was still a prey to anxieties. His own force, triumphant though it might be, was small. The enemy might come again on the morrow with nearly four to one, and, if he brought his cannon with him, he could take Ticonderoga, despite the great losses he had suffered already. Once more he talked with St. Luc, whom he trusted implicitly.
The Chevalier did not believe a second attack would be made, and his belief was so strong it amounted to a conviction.
“The same mind,” he said, “that sent their army against us without artillery, will now go to the other extreme. Having deemed us negligible it will think us invincible.”
St. Luc’s logic was correct. The French passed the night in peace, and the next morning, when De Levis went out with a strong party to look for the enemy he found that he was gone, and that in his haste he had left behind vast quantities of food and other supplies which the French eagerly seized. Montcalm that day, full of pride, caused a great cross to be erected on his victorious field of battle and upon it he wrote in Latin:
“Quid dux? quid miles? quid strata ingentia ligna? En Signum! en victor! Deus hic, Deus ipse triumphat.”
Which a great American writer has translated into:
“Soldier and chief and ramparts’ strength are nought; Behold the conquering cross! ’Tis God the triumph wrought.”
But for Robert the night that closed down was the blackest he had ever known. It had never occurred to him that Abercrombie’s army could be defeated. Confident in its overwhelming numbers, he had believed that it would easily sweep away the French and take Ticonderoga. The skill and valor of Montcalm, St. Luc, De Levis and the others, no matter how skillful and valiant they might be, could avail nothing, and, after Ticonderoga, it would be a mere question of time until Crown Point fell too. And after that would come Quebec and the conquest of Canada.
Now, when his spirits had soared so high, the fall was correspondingly low. His sensitive mind, upon which events always painted themselves with such vividness, reflected only the darkest pictures. He saw the triumphant advance of the French, the Indians laying waste the whole of New York Province, and the enemy at the gates of New York itself.
The night itself was a perfect reproduction of his own mind. He saw through his spirits as through a glass. The dusk was thick, heavy, it was noisome, it had a quality that was almost ponderable, it was unpleasant to eye and nostril, he tasted and breathed the smoke that was shot through it, and he felt a sickening of the soul. He heard a wind moaning through the forest, and it was to him a dirge, the lament of those who had fallen.
He knew there had been no lack of bravery on the part of his own. After a while he took some consolation in that fact. British and Americans had come to the attack long after hope of success was gone. They had not known how to win, but never had men known better how to die. Such valor would march to triumph in the end.
He lay awake almost the whole night, and he did not expect Abercrombie to advance again. Somehow he had the feeling that the play, so far as this particular drama was concerned, was played out. The blow was so heavy that he was in a dull and apathetic state from which he was stirred only once in the evening, and that was when two Frenchmen passed near him, escorting a prisoner of whose face he caught a glimpse in the firelight. He started forward, exclaiming:
The young man, tall, handsome and firm of feature, although a captive, turned.
“Who called me?” he asked.
“It is I, Robert Lennox,” said Robert. “I knew you in New York!”
“Aye, Mr. Lennox. I recognize you now. We meet again, after so long a time. I could have preferred the meeting to be elsewhere and under other circumstances, but it is something to know that you are alive.”
They shook hands with great friendliness and the Frenchmen, who were guarding Charteris, waited patiently.
“May our next meeting be under brighter omens,” said Robert.
“I think it will be,” said Charteris confidently.
Then he went on. It was a long time before they were to see each other again, and the drama that was to bring them face to face once more was destined to be as thrilling as that at Ticonderoga.
The next night came heavy and dark, and Robert, who continued to be treated with singular forbearance, wandered toward Lake Champlain, which lay pale and shadowy under the thick dusk. No one stopped him. The sentinels seemed to have business elsewhere, and suddenly he remembered his old threat to escape. Hope returned to a mind that had been stunned for a time, and it came back vivid and strong. Then hope sank down again, when a figure issued from the dusk, and stood before him. It was St. Luc.
“Mr. Lennox,” said the Chevalier, “what are you doing here?”
“Merely wandering about,” replied Robert. “I’m a prisoner, as you know, but no one is bothering about me, which I take to be natural when the echoes of so great a battle have scarcely yet died.”
St. Luc looked at him keenly and Robert met his gaze. He could not read the eye of the Chevalier.
“You have been a prisoner of ours once before, but you escaped,” said the Chevalier. “It seems that you are a hard lad to hold.”
“But then I had the help of the greatest trailer and forest runner in the world, my staunch friend, Tayoga, the Onondaga.”
“If he rescued you once he will probably try to do it again, and the great hunter, Willet, is likely to be with him. I suppose you were planning a few moments ago to escape along the shore of the lake.”
“I might have been, but I see now that it is too late.”
“Too late is a phrase that should be seldom used by youth.”
Robert tried once again to read the Chevalier’s eye, but St. Luc’s look contained the old enigma.
“I admit,” said young Lennox, “that I thought I might find an open place in your line. It was only a possible chance.”
St. Luc shrugged his shoulders, and looked at the darkness that lay before them like a great black blanket.
“There is much yet to be done by us at Ticonderoga,” he said. “Perhaps it is true that a possible chance for you to escape does exist, but my duties are too important for me to concern myself about guarding a single prisoner.”
His figure vanished. He was gone without noise, and Robert stared at the place where he had been. Then the hope of escape came back, more vivid and more powerful than ever. “Too late,” was a phrase that should not be known to youth. St. Luc was right. He walked straight ahead. No sentinel barred the way. Presently the lake, still and luminous, stretched across his path, and, darting into the bushes along its edge, he ran for a long time. Then he sank down and looked back. He saw dimly the lights of the camp, but he heard no sound of pursuit.
Rising, he began a great curve about Ticonderoga, intending to seek his own army, which he knew could not yet be far away. Once he heard light footsteps and hid deep in the bush. From his covert he saw a band of warriors at least twenty in number go by, their lean, sinewy figures showing faintly in the dusk. Their faces were turned toward the south and he shuddered. Already they were beginning to raid the border. He knew that they had taken little or no part in the battle at Ticonderoga, but now the great success of the French would bring them flocking back to Montcalm’s banner, and they would rush like wolves upon those whom they thought defenseless, hoping for more slaughters like that of William Henry.
Tandakora would not neglect such a glowing opportunity for scalps. His savage spirit would incite the warriors to attempts yet greater, and Robert looked closely at the dusky line, thinking for a moment that he might be there. But he did not see his gigantic figure and the warriors flitted on, gone like shadows in the darkness. Then the fugitive youth resumed his own flight.
Far in the night Robert sank down in a state of exhaustion. It was a physical and mental collapse, coming with great suddenness, but he recognized it for what it was, the natural consequence flowing from a period of such excessive strain. His emotions throughout the great battle had been tense and violent, and they had been hardly less so in the time that followed and in the course of the events that led to his escape. And knowing, he forced himself to do what was necessary.
He lay down in the shelter of dense bushes, and kept himself perfectly quiet for a long time. He would not allow hand or foot to move. His weary heart at last began to beat with regularity, the blood ceased to pound in his temples, and his nerves grew steadier. He dozed a little, or at least passed into a state that was midway between wakefulness and oblivion. Then the terrible battle was fought once more before him. Again he heard the crash and roar of the French fire, again he saw British and Americans coming forward in indomitable masses, offering themselves to death, once again he saw them tangled among the logs and sharpened boughs, and then mowed down at the wooden wall.
He roused himself and passed his hands over his eyes to shut away that vision of the stricken field and the vivid reminder of his terrible disappointment. The picture was still as fresh as the reality and it sent shudders through him every time he saw it. He would keep it from his sight whenever he could, lest he grow too morbid.
He rose and started once more toward the south, but the forest became more dense and tangled and the country rougher. In his weakened state he was not able to think with his usual clearness and precision, and he lost the sense of direction. He began to wander about aimlessly, and at last he stopped almost in despair.
He was in a desperate plight. He was unarmed, and a man alone and without weapons in the wilderness was usually as good as lost. He looked around, trying to study the points of the compass. The night was not dark. Trees and bushes stood up distinctly, and on a bough not far away, his eyes suddenly caught a flash of blue.
The flash was made by a small, glossy bird that wavered on a bough, and he was about to turn away, taking no further notice of it, when the bird flew slowly before him and in a direction which he now knew led straight toward the south. He remembered. Back to his mind rushed an earlier escape, and how he had followed the flight of a bird to safety. Had Tayoga’s Manitou intervened again in his favor? Was it chance? Or did he in a dazed state imagine that he saw what he did not see?
The bird, an azure flash, flew on before him, and hope flowing in an invincible tide in his veins, he followed. He was in continual fear lest the blue flame fade away, but on he went, over hills and across valleys and brooks, and it was always just before him. He had been worn and weary before, but now he felt strong and active. Courage rose steadily in his veins, and he had no doubt that he would reach friends.
Near dawn the bird suddenly disappeared among the leaves. Robert stopped and heard a light foot-step in the bushes. Being apprehensive lest he be re-taken, he shrank away and then stopped. He listened a while, and the sound not being repeated, he hoped that he had been mistaken, but a voice called suddenly from a bush not ten feet away:
“Come, Dagaeoga! The Great Bear and I await you. Tododaho, watching on his star, has sent us into your path.”
Robert, uttering a joyful cry, sprang forward, and the Onondaga and Willet, rising from the thicket, greeted him with the utmost warmth.
“I knew we’d find you again,” said Willet “How did you manage to escape?”
“A way seemed to open for me,” replied Robert. “The last man I saw in the French camp was St. Luc. After that I met no sentinel, although I passed where a sentinel would stand.”
“Ah!” said Willet.
They gave him food, and after sunrise they started toward the south. Robert told how he had seen the great battle and the French victory.
“Tayoga, Black Rifle, Grosvenor and I were in the attack,” said Willet, “but we went through it without a scratch. No troops ever fought more bravely than ours. The defeat was the fault of the commander, not theirs. But we’ll put behind us the battle lost and think of the battle yet to be won.”
“So we will,” said Robert, as he looked around at the great curving forest, its deep green tinted with the light brown of summer. It was a friendly forest now. It no longer had the aspect of the night before, when the wolves, their jaws slavering in anticipation, howled in its thickets. Rabbits sprang up as they passed, but the little creatures of the wild did not seem to be afraid. They did not run away. Instead, they crouched under the bushes, and gazed with mild eyes at the human beings who made no threats. A deer, drinking at the edge of a brook, raised its head a little and then continued to drink. Birds sang in the dewy dawn with uncommon freshness and sweetness. The whole world was renewed.
Creature, as he was, of his moods, Robert’s spirits soared again at his meeting with Tayoga and Willet, those staunch friends of his, bound to him by such strong ties and so many dangers shared. The past was the past, Ticonderoga was a defeat, a great defeat, when a victory had been expected, but it was not irreparable. Hope sang in his heart and his face flushed in the dawn. The Onondaga, looking at him, smiled.
“Dagaeoga already looks to the future,” he said.
“So I do,” replied Robert with enthusiasm. “Why shouldn’t I? The night just passed has favored me. I escaped. I met you and Dave, and it’s a glorious morning.”
The sun was rising in a splendid sea of color, tinting the woods with red and gold. Never had the wilderness looked more beautiful to him. He turned his face in the direction of Ticonderoga.
“We’ll come back,” he said, his heart full of courage, “and we’ll yet win the victory, even to the taking of Quebec.”
“So we will,” said the hunter.
“Aye, Stadacona itself will fall,” said Tayoga.
Refreshed and strong, they plunged anew into the forest, traveling swiftly toward the south.
[Footnote 1: The story of Edward Charteris and his adventures at Ticonderoga and Quebec is told in the author’s novel, “A Soldier of Manhattan."]