Bounding over the ill-fated De Haldimar, who lay, even in death, firmly clasped in the embrace of the wretched Ellen, the fierce man dashed furiously forward to renew his pursuit of the fugitives. But suddenly the extremity of the bridge was filled with a column of armed men, that kept issuing from the arch beneath. Sensible of his danger, he sought to make good his retreat; but when he turned for the purpose, the same formidable array met his view at the opposite extremity; and both parties now rapidly advanced in double quick time, evidently with a view of closing upon and taking him prisoner. In this dilemma, his only hope was in the assistance that might be rendered him by his warriors. A yell, so terrific as to be distinctly heard in the fort itself, burst from his vast chest, and rolled in prolonged echoes through the forest. It was faintly answered from the encampment, and met by deep but noiseless curses from the exasperated soldiery, whom the sight of their murdered officer was momentarily working into frenzy.
“Kill him not, for your lives!—I command you, men, kill him not!” muttered Captain Blessington with suppressed passion, as his troops were preparing to immolate him on their clustering bayonets. “Such a death were, indeed, mercy to such a villain.”
“Ha! ha!” laughed Wacousta in bitter scorn; “who is there of all your accursed regiment who will dare to take him alive?” Then brandishing his tomahawk around him, to prevent their finally closing, he dealt his blows with such astonishing velocity, that no unguarded point was left about his person; and more than one soldier was brought to the earth in the course of the unequal struggle.”
“By G—d!” said Captain Erskine, “are the two best companies of the regiment to be kept at bay by a single desperado? Shame on ye, fellows! If his hands are too many for you, lay him by the heels.”
This ruse was practised with success. In attempting to defend himself from the attack of those who sought to throw him down, the warrior necessarily left his upper person exposed; when advantage was taken to close with him and deprive him of the play of his arms. It was not, however, without considerable difficulty, that they succeeded in disarming and binding his hands; after which a strong cord being fastened round his waist, he was tightly lashed to a gun, which, contrary to the original intention of the governor, had been sent out with the expedition. The retreat of the detachment then commenced rapidly; but it was not without being hotly pursued by the band of warriors the yell of Wacousta had summoned in pursuit, that they finally gained the fort: under what feelings of sorrow for the fate of an officer so beloved, we leave it to our readers to imagine.