“And there are others who have the same idea,” the Colonel replied. “They can see nothing but misery and death right ahead.”
“But is there any real danger, captain?” Jean asked.
“There is always more or less danger in a country such as this,” was the quiet reply. “This river has witnessed stirring scenes. Look at those little clearings over yonder, for instance,” and he pointed to the western shore. “A few settlers had their homes there, but the Indians drove them out, and burned their houses. It has been the same in other places, and it may happen again. But I have made many trips on this river, and the natives have never troubled me yet. It may be because I sail on the Polly,” he added with a twinkle in his eyes.
“What has the Polly to do with it, captain?”
“Oh, she leads a charmed life. She has got into no end of difficult places, but has always come out on top. I have driven her through storms between here and the West Indies that would have swamped a much larger vessel. At one time she was forced by a wild gale on the top of the wharf at Newburyport. But she was pulled off all right. Several times she was captured by pirates, though generally she was able to show her heels in a lively manner to the fastest pursuer. She has carried all kinds of loads, from fish taken at Annapolis and Passamaquoddy to barrels of rum from Jamaica. But this is the most important cargo she ever carried, and she seems proud of it. She’s English to the core, the Polly is. Now, look how she swings away from that point. She doesn’t like the place.”
“Why?” the colonel asked. “It is a most beautiful spot.”
“Indeed it is, but the Polly always shies off when she comes here. No doubt it’s due to the current from that little stream, the Beaubear, but I like to think that this schooner knows that the old French Fort, Boishebert, was situated on that point. You can see the ruins of the place from here. No, the Polly doesn’t like the French; guess she’s had too much to do with them, the same as her captain.”
They were out of Grand Bay now and bearing up through a fine stretch of water known as the “Long Reach.” The land on both sides of the river was rugged, while far ahead the outlines of several islands could be discerned.
“And there’s another,” the captain exclaimed in disgust.
“Another what?” Jean asked.
“Oh, a place where the French once held out. It’s that first island you see away up there. The Indian name is ‘Ah-men-henik,’ but the French called it ‘Isle au Garce,’ for what reason I don’t know. Anyway, there were lively times on that island when the French had a trading post there. It now belongs to Captain Isaac Caton. There’s a small rocky island a little above, which the French called ’Isle de trent,’ while just above is the ‘Isle of Vines.’ It is in behind that where you are to land, just below Oak Point.”