“‘A Yankee pass me in the channel!’” I would have exclaimed aloud, starting to my feet with surprise, but Sambo, with ready thought, put his hand upon my mouth, in time to prevent more than the first word from being uttered.
“’Hush! dam him, Massa Geral, ib you make a noise you no catch him.’
“‘What do you mean then—what have you seen?’” I asked in the same low whisper, the policy of which his action had enjoined on me.
“‘Lookee dare, Massa Geral, lookee dare?’
“Following the direction in which he pointed, I now saw, but very indistinctly, a canoe in which was a solitary individual stealing across the lake to the impulsion of an apparently muffled paddle; for her course, notwithstanding the stillness of the night, was utterly noiseless. The moon, which is in her first quarter, had long since disappeared, yet the heavens, although not particularly bright, ware sufficiently dotted with stars to enable me, with the aid of a night telescope, to discover that the figure, which guided the cautiously moving bark, had nothing Indian in its outline. The crew of the gun boat (the watch only excepted) had long since turned in; and even the latter lay reposing on the forecastle, the sentinels only keeping the ordinary look out. So closely moreover did we lay in shore, that but for the caution of the paddler, it might have been assumed she was too nearly identified with the dark forest against which her hull and spars reposed, to be visible. Curious to ascertain her object, I watched the canoe in silence, as, whether accidentally or with design, I know not, she made the half circuit of the gun boat and then bore away in a direct line for the Canadian shore. A suspicion of the truth now flashed across my mind, and I resolved without delay to satisfy myself. My first care was to hasten to the forecastle, and enjoin on the sentinels, who I feared might see and hail the stranger, the strictest silence. Then desiring Sambo to prepare the light boat which, I dare say, most of you have remarked to form a part of my Lilliputian command, I proceeded to arm myself with cutlass and pistols. Thus equipped I sprang lightly in, and having again caught sight of the chase, on which I had moreover directed one of the sentinels to keep a steady eye as long as she was in sight, desired Sambo to steer as noiselessly as possible in pursuit. For some time we kept the stranger in view, but whether, owing to his superior paddling or lighter weight, we eventually lost sight of him. The suspicion which had at first induced my following, however, served also as a clue to the direction I should take. I was aware that the scoundrel Desborough was an object of distrust—I knew that the strictness of my father, during his magistracy, in compelling him to choose between taking the oaths of allegiance, and quitting the country, had inspired him with deep hatred to himself and disaffection to the Government; and I felt that if the spirit of