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The Escape.-MISS SEDGWICK.
ON a point of land, at the junction of the Oswegatchie with the St. Lawrence, is a broken stone wall, the remains of a fortification. Tradition says, that a commandant of this fort (which was built by the French to protect their traders against the savages,) married a young Iroquois, who was, before or after the marriage, converted to the Catholic faith. She was the daughter of a chieftain of her tribe, and great efforts were made by her people, to induce her to return to them. Her brother lurked in this neighborhood, and procured interviews with her, and attempted to win her back by all the motives of national pride and family affection; but all in vain.
The young Garanga, or, to call her by her baptismal name, Marguerite, was bound by a threefold cord—her love to her husband, to her son, and to her religion. Mecumeh, finding persuasion ineffectual, had recourse to stratagem. The commandant was in the habit of going down the river on fishing excursions, and when he returned, he would fire his signal gun, and Marguerite and her boy would hasten to the shore to greet him.
On one occasion, he had been gone longer than usual. Marguerite was filled with apprehensions natural enough, at a time, when imminent dangers and hair breadth escapes were of every day occurrence. She had sat in the tower and watched for the returning canoe, till the last beam of day had faded from the waters;-the deepening shadows of twilight played tricks with her imagination.
Once she was startled by the water-fowl, which, as it skimmed along the surface of the water, imaged to her fancy the light canoe, impelled by her husband's vigorous arm-again she heard the leap of the heavy muskalongi, and the splashing waters sounded to her fancy like the first dash of the oar. That passed away, and disappointment and tears followed. Her boy was beside her; the young Louis, who, though scarcely twelve years old, already had his imagination filled with daring deeds.
Born and bred in a fort, he was an adept in the use of the bow and the musket; courage seemed to be his instinct, and danger his element, and battles and wounds were 'house
hold words' with him. He laughed at his mother's fears; but, in spite of his boyish ridicule, they strengthened, till apprehension seemed reality.
Suddenly the sound of the signal gun broke on the stillness of the night. Both mother and son sprang on their feet with a cry of joy, and were pressing hand in hand towards the outer gate, when a sentinel stopped them to remind Marguerite, it was her husband's order, that no one should venture without the walls after sunset. She, however insisted on passing, and telling the soldier, that she would answer to the commandant for his breach of ordersshe passed the outer barrier.
Young Louis held up his bow and arrow before the sentinel, saying gaily, 'I am my mother's body-guard, you know.' Tradition has preserved these trifling circumstances, as the events that followed rendered them memorable. The distance, over a gentle declivity, from the fort to the place where the commandant moored his canoe, trifling, and quickly passed. Marguerite and Louis flew along the narrow foot path, reached the shore, and were in the arms of Mecumeh and his fierce companions. Entreaties and resistance were alike vain. Resistance was made with a manly spirit by young Louis, who drew a knife from the girdle of one of the Indians, and attempted to plunge it in the bosom of Mecumeh, who was roughly binding his wampum belt over Marguerite's mouth, to deaden the sound of her screams. The uncle wrested the knife from him, and smiled proudly on him, as if he recognised in the brave boy, a scion from his own stock.
The Indians had two canoes; Marguerite was conveyed to one, Louis to the other—and both canoes were rowed into the Oswegatchie, and up the stream, as fast as it was possible to impel them against the current of the river.
Not a word nor cry escaped the boy: he seemed intent on some purpose, and when the canoe approached near the shore, he took off a military cap he wore, and threw it so skilfully that it lodged, where he meant it should, on the branch of a tree which projected over the water. There was a long white feather in the cap. The Indians had observed the boy's movement-they held up their oars for a moment, and seemed to consult whether they should return and remove the cap; but after a moment, they again dashed their oars in the water and proceeded forward.
They continued rowing for a few miles, and then landed,
hid their canoes behind some trees on the river's bank, and plunged into the woods with their prisoners. It seems to have been their intention to have returned to their canoes in the morning, and they had not proceeded far from the shore, when they kindled a fire and prepared some food, and offered a share of it to Marguerite and Louis.
Poor Marguerite, as may be supposed, had no mind to eat; but Louis, saith tradition, ate as heartily as if he had been safe within the walls of the fort. After the supper, the Indians stretched themselves before the fire, but not till they had taken the precaution to bind Marguerite to a tree, and to compel Louis to lie down in the arms of his uncle Mecumeh. Neither of the prisoners closed their eyes. Louis kept his fixed on his mother. She sat upright beside an oak tree; the cord was fastened around her waist, and bound around the tree, which had been blasted by lightning; the moon poured its beams through the naked branches, upon her face, convulsed with the agony of despair and fear. With one hand she held a crucifix to her lips, the other was on her rosary.
The sight of his mother in such a situation, stirred up daring thoughts in the bosom of the heroic boy-but he lay powerless in his uncle's naked brawny arms. He tried to disengage himself, but at the slightest movement, Mecumeh, though still sleeping, seemed conscious, and strained him closer to him. At last the strong sleep, that in the depth of the night steeps the senses in utter forgetfulness, overpowered him-his arms relaxed their hold, and dropped beside him and left Louis free.
He rose cautiously, looked for one instant on the Indians, and assured himself they all slept profoundly. He then possessed himself of Mecumeh's knife, which lay at his feet, and severed the cord that bound his mother to the tree. Neither of them spoke a word—but with the least possible sound, they resumed the way, by which they had come from the shore; Louis in the confidence, and Marguerite with the faint hope of reaching it before they were overtaken.
It may be imagined how often the poor mother, timid as a fawn, was startled by the evening breeze stirring the leaves, but the boy bounded forward as if there was neither fear nor danger in the world.
They had nearly attained the margin of the river, where Louis meant to launch one of the canoes and drop down
the current, when the Indian yell resounding through the woods, struck on their ears. They were missed, pursued, and escape was impossible. Marguerite panic-struck, sunk to the ground. Nothing could check the career of Louis. 'On--on, mother,' he cried, 'to the shore-to the shore.' She rose and instinctively followed her boy. The sound of pursuit came nearer and nearer. They reached the shore, and there beheld three canoes coming swiftly up the river. Animated with hope, Louis screamed the watch-word of the garrison, and was answered by his father's voice.
The possibility of escape, and the certain approach of her husband, infused new life into Marguerite. Your father cannot see us,' she said, ' as we stand here in the shade of the trees; hide yourself in that thicket, I will plunge into the water.' Louis crouched under the bushes, and was completely hidden by an overhanging grape-vine, while his mother advanced a few steps into the water and stood erect, where she could be distinctly seen.
A shout from the canoes apprized her that she was recognised, and at the same moment, the Indians, who had now reached the shore, rent the air with their cries of rage and defiance. They stood for a moment, as if deliberating what next to do; Mecumeh maintained an undaunted and resolved air-but with his followers the aspect of armed men, and a force thrice their number, had its usual effect. They fled.
He looked after them, cried, 'shame!' and then with a desperate yell, leaped into the water and stood beside Marguerite. The canoes were now within a few yards-He put his knife to her bosom- The daughter of Tecumseh,' he said, should have died by the judgment of our warriors, but now by her brother's hand must she perish:' and he drew back his arm to give vigor to the fatal stroke, when an arrow pierced his own breast, and he fell insensible at his sister's side. A moment after Marguerite was in the arms of her husband, and Louis, with his bow unstrung, bounded from the shore, and was received in his father's canoe; and the wild shores rung with the acclamations of the soldiers, while his father's tears of pride and joy, were poured like rain upon his cheek.
A Hebrew Tale.-MRS. SIGOURNEY.
TWILIGHT was deepening with a tinge of eve,
With hasting step.-The evening meal was spread,
Ruler of earth and sea.-Then, raising high
-His sweet repast with sweet discourse was blent,
The God of Abraham, while from lute and harp,