While he yet paused with indecision, at one moment fancying the time for starting was not yet arrived, and at the next that he had suffered it to pass away, the powerful and threatening voice of Wacousta was heard proclaiming the escape of his captive. Low but expressive exclamations from the warriors marked their sense of the importance of the intelligence; and many of them hastily dispersed themselves in pursuit. This was the critical moment for action: for, as the anxious officer had rather wished than expected, those Indians who had been immediately in front, and whose proximity he most dreaded, were among the number of those who dashed into the heart of the forest—Captain de Haldimar now stood alone, and full twenty paces in front of the nearest of the savages. For a moment he played with his mocassined foot to satisfy himself, of the power and flexibility of its muscles, and then committing himself to his God, dashed the blanket suddenly from his shoulders, and, with eye and heart fixed on the distant soldiery, darted down the declivity with a speed of which he had never yet believed himself capable. Scarcely, however, had his fleeing form appeared in the opening, when a tremendous and deafening yell rent the air, and a dozen wild and naked warriors followed instantly in pursuit. Attracted by that yell, the terrible Wacousta, who had been seeking his victim in a different quarter, bounded forward to the front with an eye flashing fire, and a brow compressed into the fiercest hate; and so stupendous were his efforts, so extraordinary was his speed, that had it not been for the young Ottawa chief, who was one of the pursuing party, and who, under the pretence of assisting in the recapture of the prisoner, sought every opportunity of throwing himself before, and embarrassing the movements of his enemy, it is highly probable the latter would have succeeded. Despite of these obstacles, however, the fierce Wacousta, who had been the last to follow, soon left the foremost of his companions far behind him; and but for his sudden fall, while in the very act of seizing the arm of his prisoner, his gigantic efforts must have been crowned with the fullest success. But the reader has already seen how miraculously Captain de Haldimar, reduced to the last stage of debility, as much from inanition as from the unnatural efforts of his flight, finally accomplished his return to the detachment.
At the western extremity of the lake Huron, and almost washed by the waters of that pigmy ocean, stands the fort of Michilimackinac. Constructed on a smaller scale, and garrisoned by a less numerical force, the defences of this post, although less formidable than those of the Detroit, were nearly similar, at the period embraced by our story, both in matter and in manner. Unlike the latter fortress, however, it boasted none of the advantages afforded by culture; neither, indeed, was there a single spot in the immediate