Wacousta : a tale of the Pontiac conspiracy — Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 190 pages of information about Wacousta .
in intention to his tomahawk, but they were no longer there.  Such was the silence that reigned every where, the fort appeared to be tenanted only by the few men of the guard, who lingered near their stations, attentively watching the Indians, as they passed towards the gate.  A very few minutes sufficed to bring the latter once more in the midst of their warriors, whom, for a few moments, they harangued earnestly, when the whole body again moved off in the direction of their encampment.


The week that intervened between the visit of the chiefs and the day appointed for their second meeting in council, was passed by the garrison in perfect freedom from alarm, although, as usual, in diligent watchfulness and preparations for casualties.  In conformity with his promise, the Indian had despatched many of the Canadian settlers, with such provisions as the country then afforded, to the governor, and these, happy to obtain the gold of the troops in return for what they could conveniently spare, were not slow in availing themselves of the permission.  Dried bears’ meat, venison, and Indian corn, composed the substance of these supplies, which were in sufficient abundance to produce a six weeks’ increase to the stock of the garrison.  Hitherto they had been subsisting, in a great degree, upon salt provisions; the food furtively supplied by the Canadians being necessarily, from their dread of detection, on so limited a scale, that a very small portion of the troops had been enabled to profit by it.  This, therefore, was an important and unexpected benefit, derived from the falling in of the garrison with the professed views of the savages; and one which, perhaps, few officers would, like Colonel de Haldimar, have possessed the forethought to have secured.  But although it served to relieve the animal wants of the man, there was little to remove his moral inquietude.  Discouraged by the sanguinary character of the warfare in which they seemed doomed to be for ever engaged, and harassed by constant watchings,—­seldom taking off their clothes for weeks together,—­the men had gradually been losing their energy of spirit, in the contemplation of the almost irremediable evils by which they were beset; and looked forward with sad and disheartening conviction to a fate, that all things tended to prove to them was unavoidable, however the period of its consummation might be protracted.  Among the officers, this dejection, although proceeding from a different cause, was no less prevalent; and notwithstanding they sought to disguise it before their men, when left to themselves, they gave unlimited rein to a despondency hourly acquiring strength, as the day fixed on for the second council with the Indians drew near.

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