Page images
PDF
EPUB

cussing the question with all the bitterness of provincials.

“Egad! they see no merit in Americans and have only praise for British regulars. I would that our rifles were once brought against their muskets. Zounds! but we would then try the merits of both.”

" It will come, Matthew,” the second soldier answered. “By my soul, when we have whipped the French and Indians and driven 'em from our shores we will give our attention to driving out the king's soldiers.”

“ That is treason, Sol. Beware how you give utterance to such speeches. Egad! you may be shot for such remarks.”

Loudon, like his lieutenant, thought more of humiliating the colonists in America than of fighting the French and Indians. He demanded of the city of New York, free quarters for himself, his officers and a thousand men.

"Your demand is contrary to the laws of Eng. land and the liberties of America,” replied the mayor of the city. The haughty earl responded:

“Free quarters are everywhere usual. I assert it on my honor which is the highest evidence you can require.”

The mayor was firm, and Loudon determined to make New York an example for all the rest of the continent. With a vulgar oath, he declared :

“If you don't billet my officers upon free quarters this day, I'll order here all the troops under my command and billet them myself upon your city.”

A subscription for the purpose was raised; the officers were billeted on the city, and Loudon won what to him was a greater victory than if he had defeated Montcalm.

The only brilliant event which relieved the dull monotony of continued defeat was a substantial victory on the Alleghany River in Pennsylvania. Dr. Franklin after superintending the construction of small posts along the Pennsylvania frontier, from the Delaware to the borders of Maryland as a defence against hostile Indians, retired from military life.

The Indians continued to harass the frontier, and Colonel John Armstrong, with three hundred Virginians and Pennsylvania militia, proceeded on the night of the 7th of September, 1756, to chastise the Delawares at Kittanning, one of the principal towns (now in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania), within thirty-five miles of Fort Du Quesne. Stealthily crossing the Alleghany Mountains, they fell upon the Indian town at early dawn and killed many savages before they were fully awake. The slaughter of Indians was great, and the village was wholly destroyed. It had the effect of completely

humbling the Delawares and the frontier had peace. So ended the campaigns of 1756. French power and confidence had been strengthened, while Loudon had gained two conquests over the colonists by billeting his troops on the people of Albany and New York. The war cloud grew darker.

22

CHAPTER XV.

THE BROTHERS MEET.

Sweet scenes of youth, to faithful memory dear,
Still fondly cherish’d with the sacred tear,
When, in the softened light of summer skies,
Full on my soul life's first illusions rise.

-LEYDEN.

THE day had been one of mists with occasional showers. The dripping hollyhocks beneath the walls, their half-quenched fires a smouldering red, hung their soaked heads in drooping melancholy.

A shred of gold upon the grass marked the spot where a drowned butterfly hung. The sound of trickling waters was like a mournful tune set to sad words, and the rainy wind blew the wet boughs against a saffron sky. Toward the west there was a sullen glow of fire which marked the descent of the summer's sun.

Owen Gray's old-fashioned tavern presented a gloomy and even forbidding appearance as it stood, a great sombre old pile, at the roadside, the old sign creaking in the damp, cold breeze which

swept down the mountains into the valley. The broad road which led past his house was somewhat historic. Owen Gray had, only a few months before, sat on his broad piazza and counted Braddock's soldiers as they marched by on their way to Fort Du Quesne.

“ Zounds! Becky,” he had declared to his wife, taking the stem of his black pipe from his mouth, “no one can count 'em!”

The old man remembered how his soul thrilled with patriotism and desire for military glory as he watched the grand procession, and, had he not been sixty, he certainly would have joined them; but he was too old, and, besides, he had his tavern on his hands. What was he to do with it, if he should go away? and, besides, “ Becky would not hear to such a thing.” He saw the general on his fine prancing horse, with scarlet coat and golden epaulets, his cocked hat and ruffled shirt front, his riding boots, gold-bilted sword, and silver-mounted pistols, riding with his aids past his tavern. The general halted and asked for some milk, which was given him.

“That is Colonel Washington, the boy who fit the Injuns and French last year at Fort Necessity,” the old man whispered to Becky, pointing at one of the aids of General Braddock.

The general cursed the negro who brought him

« PreviousContinue »