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“Don't attempt that, young man, or, by the Lord Harry, we'll fire and stretch your lifeless body at the road-side.”
“What will you have?” asked Jean in English. “ You." “What do you wish with me?"
“ You will wheel about and march to Grand Pre. Have you not heard the proclamation for all to assemble at Grand Pre who live in this district?”
“I heard Monsieur Dupre tell father——”
“ And yet you would run away. Zounds! you are a young rebel, a deserter, and deserve to hang.”
“Please allow me to go to the cottage beyond.” “No.” “For just a moment.” “Not an instant; march !"
As the young Frenchman still hesitated, the soldiers advanced and brought their muskets at a charge to prod him with their bayonets.
It was a very difficult task; but Jean walked back down the path toward his home, hoping that he would not be detained long at Grand Pre. When he came in sight of his home, he found his father and Monsieur Dupre in the road, guarded by a dozen British soldiers, under a mounted officer. One glance at the officer, and Jean felt his heart sink within him. It was Captain Winslow, his bitterest enemy. They were only waiting for Jean to come up, and then the captain said:
“Take them to Grand Pre at once, and plunge your bayonets into any who refuse.”
Without another word, the captain galloped away, and the prisoners were hurried to Grand Pre. As they approached the village, men, women and children could be seen pouring in from every road and path, while the air was filled with bitter wailings. Some of the people were being driven in at the point of the bayonet; but a majority, having heard the governor's proclamation, were hastening in fear and trembling to the village.
Other parties joined the three who were driven to the village, so that before they reached the church, the point designated for the gathering, they numbered a score. Among others who came, were Adrianne and her mother.
"Jean, Jean,” she whispered, creeping close to the side of her lover, “what will they do with us?"
“ Alas, I know not.” “ Will they slay us?” “ Hardly.” “Our marriage, Jean?” “May have to be postponed, Adrianne; yet we will wed, if it be years from this day.”
“I will await you, Jean.” No more was said. Men, women and children
were hastening toward the church, around which General Winslow had drawn a large body of soldiers with fixed bayonets, standing in the form of a semicircle.
A vast multitude of men and boys, old and young, were driven like sheep into the church, and the militia stood ready to execute any peremptory order the officers might issue. Not a whisper gave a warning of the purposes of the conquerors, till the plot was ripe for execution. The chief-justice, Belcher, on whose opinion hung the fate of so many hundreds of innocent families, had insisted that the French families were to be looked upon as confirmed “rebels,” who had now collectively and without exception become “recusants.” Besides, they still counted in their villages“ eight thousand” souls, and the English not more than “ three thou. sand.” “They stood in the way of the progress of the settlement.” “By their non-compliance with the conditions of the treaty of Utrecht, they had forfeited their possessions to the crown.” After the departure“ of the fleet and troops, the province would not be in a condition to drive them out.” “Such a juncture as the present might never occur again,” so he had advised against receiving any of the French inhabitants to take the oath, and for the removal of “all of them from the province.” That the cruelty might have no palliation, letters arrived, leaving no doubt that the shores of the Bay oi Fundy were entirely in the possession of the British; yet at a council, at which Vice-Admiral Boscawen was present by invitation, it was unanimously determined to send the French inhabitants out of the province. After mature consideration, it was further unanimously agreed that, to prevent their attempting to return and molest the settlers that were to be set down on their lands, it would be most proper to distribute them among the several colonies on the continent. To hunt them into the net was impracticable; so this artifice was resorted to to bring in all by proclamation. And as the old men and young men and the boys of ten were gathering into the great church at Gand Pre, they expected, at the most, that they would only be required to take the proscribed oaths which they had before refused; but a great surprise was in store for them.
Jean and his father were crowded into a far corner of the church with others, while the women and children, to the number of hundreds, swarmed outside the building, awaiting in breathless anxiety the decision of General Winslow. The general arose, and all eyes were fixed on his stern, unyielding face. Hearts seemed to stand still as he took his place in the centre of the church and, mounting a table, spoke:
“You are convened together to manifest to you his majesty's final resolution to the French inhabitants of this his province. Your lands and tenements, cattle of all kinds and live stock of all sorts are forfeited to the crown, and you yourselves are to be removed from this his province. I am, through his majesty's goodness, directed to allow you liberty to carry off your money and household goods, as many as you can, without discommoding the vessels you go in. Now, in the name of his majesty, I declare you are the king's prisoners.”
During his speech, a death-like silence pervaded the church; but no sooner had the cruel edict been pronounced than wails and sobs went up on the air. Jean made an effort to escape by one of the windows; but he found every avenue guarded by soldiers with fixed bayonets. Adrianne had been left outside the church, and at the door he begged to see her; but Captain Henry Winslow, who heard him, assured him that he would care for Adrianne.
“If you never see her again, and the chances are you never will,” the officer cruelly continued, “ assure yourself that she is safe with one who loves her quite as dearly as you."
Driven to madness by the taunts of the officer, Jean strove to assault him, unarmed as he was, when a soldier knocked him senseless with his