Captain de Haldimar had none of the natural weakness and timidity of character which belonged to the gentler and more sensitive Charles. Sanguine and full of enterprise, he seldom met evils half way; but when they did come, he sought to master them by the firmness and collectedness with which he opposed his mind to their infliction. If his heart was now racked with the most acute suffering—his reason incapacitated from exercising its calm deliberative power, the seeming contradiction arose not from any deficiency in his character, but was attributable wholly to the extraordinary circumstances of the moment.
It was a part of the profound plan of the Ottawa chief, that it should be essayed on the two forts on the same day; and it was a suggestion of the murderer of poor Donellan, that a parley should be obtained, through the medium of a white flag, the nature of which he explained to them, as it was understood among their enemies. If invited to the council, then they were to enter, or not, as circumstances might induce; but, in any case, they were to go unprovided with the pipe of peace, since this could not be smoked without violating every thing held most sacred among themselves. The red, or war-pipe, was to be substituted as if by accident; and, for the success of the deception, they were to presume on the ignorance of their enemies. This, however, was not important, since the period of their first parley was to be the moment chosen for the arrangement of a future council, and the proposal of a ball-playing upon the common. Three days were to be named as the interval between the first conference of Ponteac with the governor and the definitive council which was to ensue; during which, however, it was so arranged, that, before the lip of a red skin should touch the pipe of peace, the ball-players should rush in and massacre the unprepared soldiery, while the chiefs despatched the officers in council.
It was the proximity of the period allotted for the execution of their cruel scheme that mainly contributed to the dismay of Captain de Haldimar. The very next day was appointed for carrying into effect the first part of the Indian plan: and how was it possible that a messenger, even admitting he should elude the vigilance of the enemy, could reach the distant post of Michilimackinac within the short period on which hung the destiny of that devoted fortress. In the midst of the confused and distracting images that now crowded on his brain, came at length one thought, redolent with the brightest colourings of