A heavy blow from his cutlass accompanied these words. The fingers, divided at their very roots, rolled to the bottom of the boat, and the carcase of the savage dropped, with a yell of anguish, far in the rear. The heavy oar-blades of the seamen now made play, dashing the lake away in sheets of foam; and, in less than five minutes, the heads of the swimming savages were seen mingling like so many rats upon the water, as they returned once more in disappointment from their fruitless pursuit.
The sun had gone down, as he had risen, in all the gloriousness of his autumnal splendour, and twilight was now fast descending on the waters of the Huron. A slight breeze was just beginning to make itself felt from the land, the gradual rising of which was hailed by many an anxious heart, as the schooner, which had been making vain attempts to quit her anchorage during the day, now urged her light bows through the slightly curling element. A death-like silence, interrupted only by the low gruff voice of a veteran seaman, as he issued, in technical language, the necessary orders for the management of the vessel, prevailed every where along her decks. The dress and general appearance of this individual announced him for a petty officer of the royal service; and it was evident, from the tone of authority with which he spoke, he was now in the enjoyment of a temporary command. The crew, consisting of about thirty souls, and chiefly veterans of the same class, were assembled along the gangways, each man wearing a brace of pistols in the belt, which, moreover, secured a naked cutlass around his loins; and these now lingered near the several guns that were thrown out from their gloomy looking ports, as if ready for some active service. But, although the arming of these men indicated hostile preparation, there was none of that buoyancy of movement and animation of feature to be observed, which so usually characterise the indomitable daring of the British sailor. Some stood leaning their heads pensively on their hands against the rigging and hammocks that were stowed away along the bulwarks, after the fashion of war ships in boarding; others, with arms tightly folded across their chests, spirted the tobacco juice thoughtfully from their closed teeth into the receding waters; while not a few gazed earnestly and despondingly on the burning fort in the distance, amid the rolling volumes of smoke and flame from which, ever and anon, arose the fiendish yell of those who, having already sacked, were now reducing it to ashes. Nor was this the only object of their attention. On the sand bank alluded to in our last chapter were to be dimly seen through the growing dusk, the dark outlines of many of the savages, who, frantic with rage at their inability to devote them to the same doom, were still unwilling to quit a spot which approached them nearest to the last surviving objects of their