Already the eyes of several were bent in the direction alluded to by the last speaker, while those whose attention had been diverted by the approaching canoes glanced rapidly to the same point. To the surprise and consternation of all, the tall and well-remembered form of the warrior of the Fleur de lis was seen towering far above the bulwarks of the schooner; and with an expression in the attitude he had assumed, which no one could mistake for other than that of triumphant defiance. Presently he drew from the bosom of his hunting coat a dark parcel, and springing into the rigging of the main-mast, ascended with incredible activity to the point where the English ensign was faintly floating in the breeze. This he tore furiously away, and rending it into many pieces, cast the fragments into the silver element beneath him, on whose bosom they were seen to float among the canoes of the savages, many of whom possessed themselves, with eagerness, of the gaudy coloured trophies. The dark parcel was now unfolded by the active warrior, who, after having waved it several times round his head, commenced attaching it to the lines whence the English ensign had so recently been torn. It was a large black flag, the purport of which was too readily comprehended by the excited officers.
“D—n the ruffian! can we not manage to make that, flag serve as his own winding sheet?” exclaimed Captain Erskine. “Come, Wentworth, give us a second edition of the sortie firing; I know no man who understands pointing a gun better than yourself, and this eighteen pounder might do some mischief.”
The idea was instantly caught at by the officer of artillery, who read his consent in the eye of Colonel de Haldimar. His companions made way on either side; and several gunners, who were already at their stations, having advanced to work the piece at the command of their captain, it was speedily brought to bear upon the schooner.
“This will do, I think,” said Wentworth, as, glancing his experienced eye carefully along the gun, he found it pointed immediately on the gigantic frame of the warrior. “If this chain-shot miss him, it will be through no fault of mine.”
Every eye was now riveted on the main-mast of the schooner, where the warrior was still engaged in attaching the portentous flag. The gunner, who held the match, obeyed the silent signal of his captain; and the massive iron was heard rushing past the officers, bound on its murderous mission. A moment or two of intense anxiety elapsed; and when at length the rolling volumes of smoke gradually floated away, to the dismay and disappointment of all, the fierce warrior was seen standing apparently unharmed on the same spot in the rigging. The shot had, however, been well aimed, for a large rent in the outstretched canvass, close at his side, and about mid-height of his person, marked the direction it had taken. Again he tore away, and triumphantly waved the black flag around