The Path of Duty, and Other Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 310 pages of information about The Path of Duty, and Other Stories.
breathing of Ralph, and ever and anon as an owl screamed I would start, despite the familiarity of the cry.  Just as I turned in my bed, and was trying to compose myself for sleep, I heard a cry very similar to the hoot of an owl; still there was something about the sound which did not sound right.  My heart commenced beating rapidly and a sweat started from my brow.  I rose softly and looked through the chinks of the logs, but there was nothing to be seen.  I listened attentively for at least an hour; but heard no sound to confirm my fears; and finally ashamed of my own nervousness, I could not call it cowardice, I slipped into bed, determined to sleep if possible.  But soon I heard that same sound on the still air.  I rose, dressed myself, but still I could see no form like that of an Indian.  Just as I was on the point of abandoning my fears as idle and childish, I cast my eyes through an aperture between the logs; and saw the dusky forms of several Indians moving about the yard.  I sprang to the bedside, and awoke Ralph, and in a few moments more, Roe, Ralph, and myself, stood with ready guns, waiting for a chance to shoot.  A shot passing through one of the savages, told the rest they were discovered; and now a regular firing began.  The Indians simultaneously uttered a fiendish shout, such as no person can imagine who has not heard the Indian war-scream; and then brandishing their tomahawks rushed upon the house and began hewing at the door.  In a moment we were all down stairs, and our fire became so fatal that they were forced to retire several times; but with desperate courage they returned to the attack.  I never experienced the feeling of utter despair but once in my life; and that was then.  Roe came running down stairs (whither he had gone for more ammunition) and with a face white from terror, informed us that the ammunition was expended.  Here we were, surrounded by a host of savages, fastened in a small house, with nothing to defend ourselves, and the helpless women and children under the roof.  ’Let us open the door, and decide the contest hand to hand,’ said Ralph Watts.  ’O! my family, my wife and children,’ groaned Daniel Roe, ’let us defend the house to the last.’  And with nerves strung like iron, and hearts swelled to desperation, we waited in silence for the savages to hew their way through the door.  The work was soon over, the savages uttered one deafening yell as the door gave way; and clubbing our guns we wielded them with giant energy.  The dark forms of the savages crowded the door-way, their eyes glared madly at us, and their painted features working into a hundred malignant and fiendish expressions, which, together with their horrid yells, and the more heart-rending cries of women and children, all formed a scene of the most harrowing description.  The battle was soon over.  By some mishap I was hurled head foremost out the door; but so intent were the savages upon the battle within, that they did not once notice me, as
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The Path of Duty, and Other Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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