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      V2 ordered up, and the troops stood for a time in sullen desperation under the storm of bullets; but they were dropping fast in the blood-stained snow, and the order came at length to fall back. They obeyed with curses: "Damn it, what is falling back but retreating?" [831] The right wing, also outflanked, followed the example of the left. Some of the corps tried to drag off their cannon; but being prevented by the deep mud and snow they spiked the pieces and abandoned them. The French followed close, hoping to cut off the fugitives from the gates of Quebec; till Lvis, seeing that the retreat, though precipitate, was not entirely without order, thought best to stop the pursuit.While bullets are whistling and cannons do roar,

      In his own view, as expressed to his mother, he was a person of very moderate abilities, aided by more than usual diligence; but this modest judgment of himself by no means deprived him of self-confidence, nor, in time of need, of self-assertion. He delighted in every kind of hardihood; and, in his contempt for effeminacy, once said to his mother: "Better be a savage of some use than a gentle, amorous puppy, obnoxious to all the world." He was far from despising fame; but the controlling principles of his life were duty to his country and his profession, loyalty to the King, and fidelity to his own ideal of the perfect soldier. To the parent who was the confidant of his most intimate thoughts he said: "All that I wish for myself is that I may at all times be ready and firm to meet that fate we cannot shun, and to die gracefully and properly when the hour comes." Never was wish more signally fulfilled. Again he tells her: "My utmost desire and ambition is to look steadily upon danger;" and his desire was accomplished. His intrepidity was complete. No 188The men whom La Plaque had seen near Lake George were a part of the combined force of Connecticut and New York, destined to attack Montreal. They had made their way along Wood Creek to the point where it widens into Lake Champlain, and here they had stopped. Disputes between the men of the two colonies, intestine quarrels in the New York militia, who were divided between the two factions engendered by the late revolution, the want of provisions, the want of canoes, and the ravages of small-pox, had ruined an enterprise which had been mismanaged from the first. There 257 was no birch bark to make more canoes, and owing to the lateness of the season the bark of the elms would not peel. Such of the Iroquois as had joined them were cold and sullen; and news came that the three western tribes of the confederacy, terrified by the small-pox, had refused to move. It was impossible to advance; and Winthrop, the commander, gave orders to return to Albany, leaving Phips to conquer Canada alone. [23] But first, that the campaign might not seem wholly futile, he permitted Captain John Schuyler to make a raid into Canada with a band of volunteers. Schuyler left the camp at Wood Creek with twenty-nine whites and a hundred and twenty Indians, passed Lake Champlain, descended the Richelieu to Chambly, and fell suddenly on the settlement of La Prairie, whence Frontenac had just withdrawn with his forces. Soldiers and inhabitants were reaping in the wheat-fields. Schuyler and his followers killed or captured twenty-five, including several 258 women. He wished to attack the neighboring fort, but his Indians refused; and after burning houses, barns, and hay-ricks, and killing a great number of cattle, he seated himself with his party at dinner in the adjacent woods, while cannon answered cannon from Chambly, La Prairie, and Montreal, and the whole country was astir. "We thanked the Governor of Canada," writes Schuyler, "for his salute of heavy artillery during our meal." [24]

      Invoking rotten saints."Dear Daddy-Long-Legs,

      V1 hearts. Likewise it's a very sorrowful spectacle to see those that escaped with their lives with not a mouthful to eat, or bed to lie on, or clothes to cover their nakedness, or keep them warm, but all they had consumed into ashes. These deplorable circumstances cry aloud for your Honor's most wise consideration; for it is really very shocking for the husband to see the wife of his bosom her head cut off, and the children's blood drunk like water, by these bloody and cruel savages." [348]On the morrow of his victory he caused a great cross to be planted on the battle-field, inscribed with these lines, composed by the soldier-scholar himself,

      For in bright parts he did excel[768] See Note, end of chapter.

      deserve extras. But I like them just the same. Do you want to know

      This building was the house of Ensign John Sheldon, already mentioned. The Indians had had some difficulty in mastering it; for the door being of thick oak plank, studded with nails of wrought iron and well barred, they could not break it open. After a time, however, they hacked a hole in it, through which they fired and killed Mrs. Sheldon as she sat on the edge of a bed in a lower room. Her husband, a man of great resolution, seems to have been absent. Their son John, with Hannah his wife, jumped from an upper chamber window. The young woman sprained her ankle in the fall, and lay helpless, but begged her husband to run to Hatfield for aid, which he did, while she remained a prisoner. The Indians soon got in at a back door, seized Mercy Sheldon, a little girl of two years, and dashed out her brains on the door-stone. Her two brothers and her sister Mary, a girl of sixteen, were captured. The house was used for a short time as a depot for prisoners, and here also was brought the French officer wounded in the attack on the Stebbins house. A family tradition relates that as he lay in great torment he begged for water, and that it was brought him by one of the prisoners, Mrs. John Catlin, whose husband, son, and infant grandson had been killed, and who, nevertheless, did all in her power to relieve the[Pg 65] sufferings of the wounded man. Probably it was in recognition of this charity that when the other prisoners were led away, Mrs. Catlin was left behind. She died of grief a few weeks later.


      "Gentlemen," he said, as his recital ended, "I would rather have written those lines than take 286I churned yesterday. I'm a fine dairy-maid!


      conservative and inimical (fine word!) to change. Anyway, here we are. 1758.


      Such a flutter as we are in! The whole house is being cleaned and