When Davidson had ended, he waited until the Indians had consulted one another. Then their chief speaker stepped forward, and declared that from henceforth he and the Indians with him would be loyal to King George and make no more trouble. The Acadians also gave a reluctant assent. But as these latter were few, and were by no means representative of the loyal Acadians in the land, Davidson was little concerned about what they said. He was chiefly anxious to have the Indians on his side. The slashers were becoming very troublesome up river, and he wanted to keep the natives from joining them against the King’s mast-cutters. By breaking up this band of rebels, he believed that much had been accomplished.
“I am going to treat you well,” he told the Indians and Acadians. “I am going to give you back your guns and let all of you go except your leaders here and two or three more. When you have buried that man over there, go home and be forever thankful that you have got out of this trouble as well as you have.”
THE LINE IN THE SAND
Taking with them the two ringleaders and two other rebels as witnesses, the victors marched back to the settlement. There was no need for secrecy now, so the forest re-echoed with shouts, laughter and songs of the care-free rangers. They were somewhat disappointed at the outcome of the affair, as they longed for a fight with the plotters. But down in their hearts they knew that Davidson had taken the wisest course in dealing with the Indians. With Flazeet and Rauchad out of the way, they felt certain that the gang would give no further trouble.
The Colonel found it impossible to keep up with his companions, so he and Dane walked more slowly some distance in the rear. It was difficult for the young courier to restrain his steps, as he longed to speed like the wind to the one he believed was anxiously awaiting his coming. But he would not leave the Colonel who was weary after his trying experience.
“This has been too much for me,” the latter confessed, as he paused and rested for a few minutes. “I am sorry to detain you, for I know how you long to be on ahead with the others. It is good of you to stay with me.”
“Don’t you remember our agreement?” Dane asked.
“The one we made out in the hills, of course, that ’While the grass grows, the sun shines, and the water flows we will be friends.’ Friends help one another, do they not? Although I am anxious to get to the settlement, yet I could not think of leaving you to lose yourself in the woods. I would never forgive myself, and what would Jean think of me?”
“She thinks a great deal of you now, young man, and I believe you are worthy of her regard.”
“I hope I am, and for her sake, at least, I am glad that my life has been clean. I have travelled in strange ways, and lived at times among base and vicious men, but I have always kept myself apart from their evil doings. I owe it all to my mother’s teaching and influence.”