Wacousta : a tale of the Pontiac conspiracy — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 192 pages of information about Wacousta .
every vestige of the past.  Where had risen the only fortress in America at all worthy to give antiquity to the scene, streets had been laid out and made, and houses had been built, leaving not a trace of its existence save the well that formerly supplied the closely beseiged garrison with water; and this, half imbedded in the herbage of an enclosure of a dwelling house of mean appearance, was rather to be guessed at than seen; while at the opposite extremity of the city, where had been conspicuous for years the Bloody Run, cultivation and improvement had nearly obliterated every trace of the past.

Two objections have been urged against “Wacousta” as a consistent tale—­the one as involving an improbability, the other a geographical error.  It has been assumed that the startling feat accomplished by that man of deep revenge, who is not alone in his bitter hatred and contempt for the base among those who, like spaniels, crawl and kiss the dust at the instigation of their superiors, and yet arrogate to themselves a claim to be considered gentlemen and men of honor and independence—­it has, I repeat, been assumed that the feat attributed to him in connection with the flag-staff of the fort was impossible.  No one who has ever seen these erections on the small forts of that day would pronounce the same criticism.  Never very lofty, they were ascended at least one-third of their height by means of small projections nailed to them for footholds for the artillerymen, frequently compelled to clear the flag lines entangled at the truck; therefore a strong and active man, such as Wacousta is described to have been, might very well have been supposed, in his strong anxiety for revenge and escape with his victim, to have doubled his strength and activity on so important an occasion, rendering that easy of attainment by himself which an ordinary and unexcited man might deem impossible.  I myself have knocked down a gate, almost without feeling the resistance, in order to escape the stilettos of assassins.

The second objection is to the narrowness attributed in the tale to the river St. Clair.  This was done in the license usually accorded to a writer of fiction, in order to give greater effect to the scene represented as having occurred there, and, of course, in no way intended as a geographical description of the river, nor was it necessary.  In the same spirit and for the same purpose it has been continued.

It will be seen that at the termination of the tragedy enacted at the bridge, by which the Bloody Run was in those days crossed, that the wretched wife of the condemned soldier pronounced a curse that could not, of course, well be fulfilled in the course of the tale.  Some few years ago I published in Canada—­I might as well have done so in Kamschatka—­the continuation, which was to have been dedicated to the last King of England, but which, after the death of that monarch, was inscribed to Sir John Harvey, whose letter, as making honorable mention of a gallant and beloved brother, I feel it a duty to the memory of the latter to subjoin.

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Wacousta : a tale of the Pontiac conspiracy — Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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