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obelisk. While standing here, he was startled by hearing voices not far from him. The traveller evidently did not want to be seen, for he immediately got out of sight of the new-comers, who proved to be three French voyageurs.
As they came toward the beach, their voices fell on the ears of the man listening and waiting behind the stone.
“Zounds! it is the English fleet bearing down into the gulf,” said one.
“There can be little doubt that their designs are against Quebec.”
“By the mass! they will be formidable, too.” “They must never reach the town.” “No; for then Canada will fall.”
“We have been sent to keep them away, and, if we but get aboard, we will pilot them so that they can never reach Quebec.”
The man behind the stone shaft kept himself well concealed; but all the while he watched the three voyageurs.
“Where is our sloop?” one asked.
They looked far up the coast, and the traveller, following the direction of their eyes, saw a small sail-vessel coming down the coast, keeping close in to shore.
“They are going to betray my countrymen,” he thought. “How am I to prevent them?”
He was alone and unarmed and weakened by long privation and hardship. He had not had a good, wholesome meal for years, and his frame was considerably emaciated, though he was a young man in the prime of his life. This stranger was No. 39, who escaped from the galleys at Quebec. He watched the sloop bear down to the spot where the three French pilots stood ready to sail to the English fleet to mislead them.
“God in heaven give me strength and show me the way to thwart their designs,” he mentally groaned.
It had been years since he had seen his native country, and, now that a hope of being again on board an English craft was roused in his breast, that hope was to be blighted by the treachery of his enemies.
“But no; surely the commandant of the English fleet will not believe them. They are Frenchmen. They are enemies.”
Breathless and panting with eagerness and anxiety, he leaned against the large shaft of stone and watched the sloop gliding swiftly to the point of rocks where the three Frenchmen stood.
“ Tack ship, or you will crush in your larboard bow !” cried one of the pilots.
The sails were laid aback, the little sloop tacked, whirled gracefully past the point of rocks, and
then, coming around once more, gracefully lay along the stone on which the three pilots stood.
“ Well done, Edmund !” cried one of the pilots to the man at the helm.
“Where are you going?” asked the helmsman. “ To the British fleet.”
“What! We will be hanged at their yard arms !”
“We will pretend we are deserters and pilots.” “I don't believe it will save you." “It must save us, or Quebec is lost.”
The unfortunate Englishman fully comprehended their design, and all the patriotism in his noble soul was roused, so that, weak, alone and unarmed as he was, he resolved to prevent them.
Just as the three pilots stepped into the sloop, he ran toward it shouting wildly:
“You shall not! You shall not !” and he seized the gunwale of the little vessel.
“Whom have we here?” asked one of the pilots.
“By the mass! it is some mad fellow, who has broken his chains,” cried another, striking the unfortunate Englishman a blow, which knocked him to the ground.
The sloop shoved off at this moment and again spread her sails to catch the breeze. The three pilots ran into the narrow cabin and procured some muskets, with which they returned once more to the deck. The sloop was now fully a hundred paces from the shore.
“ You did not slay him, Jacquez,” remarked one.
“No; it seems my blow only stunned the rascal.”
“Who is he?"
“Merely some crack-brained fool, who seeks to meddle with our affairs. ”
“ See, he rises."
The stunned Englishman was by this time on his feet and, shaking his fist at the receding boat, and uttering some vociferous threats against its occupants.
“The fool deserves a bullet; let us give it him."
The muskets were levelled, and he who seemed leader of the pilots cried :
Stunning reports shook the air, and when the smoke had cleared away, No. 39 was lying on the great stone so still and motionless, that the pilots pronounced him dead. Without experiencing the least remorse at the deed, they continued their course toward the British fleet.
When the fleet of Admiral Walker arrived at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, they loitered by