Adèle Dubois eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 210 pages of information about Adèle Dubois.

About noon, the missionary came in from a round of observation he had been making, and urged Mr. Dubois to take his family immediately to the south bank of the river.  The fires were advancing towards them from the north, and would inevitably be upon them soon.  He had not been able to discover any appearance of fire upon the southern side of the river.  It was true the approaching flames might be driven across, but the stream being for some distance quite wide, this might not take place.  In any event, the southern side was the safest, at the present moment.  He had faith in the instinct of animals, and for several hours past he had seen cattle and geese leaving their usual places of resort and swimming to the opposite shore.

Mr. Dubois, also convinced that there was no other feasible method of escape, hastened to make arrangements for immediate departure.

A mist, tinged with deep purple, now poured in from the wilderness and overspread the horizon.  A dark cloud wrapped the land in a dismal gloom.  The heat grew nearly insupportable.  Rapid explosions, loud and startling noises, filled the air, and the forest thrilled and shook with the raging flames.  Soon a fiery belt encircled them on the east, north, and west, and advancing rapidly, threatened to cover the whole area.  The river was the only object which, by any possibility, could stay its course.

Then followed a scene of wildest confusion.  The people, aroused at last to their danger, rushed terrified to the river, unmoored their boats and fled across.  Hosts of women, whose husbands were absent in the forest, came with their children, imploring to be taken to the other side.  The remainder of the day was occupied in this work, and at the close of it, most of those living in the Dubois settlement had been safely landed on the southern shore; and there they stood huddled together in horror-stricken groups, on the highest points they could reach, watching the terrible, yet majestic scene.

Mr. Somers had been occupied in this way all the afternoon and was greatly exhausted.  As the darkness of night shut down upon the scene, he landed a party of women and children, who rushed up, precipitately, to join those who had crossed before.  He had handed the last passenger over the edge of the boat, when a sudden faintness, produced by the excessive heat and fatigue, overpowered him.  He tottered backward and fell, striking his head violently upon some object in the bottom of the boat.  It was a deathblow.

There he lay, with face upturned towards the lurid glare that lit up the darkness.  The boat nestled about in the little cove, rocked upon the waves, presenting the pale countenance, now half in shadow, now wholly concealed by the overhanging shrubs, and now in full relief, but always with a sweet, radiant, immovable calm upon the features, in strange contrast to the elemental roar and tumult around him.

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Adèle Dubois from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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