Hardscrabble; or, the fall of Chicago. a tale of Indian warfare eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 170 pages of information about Hardscrabble; or, the fall of Chicago. a tale of Indian warfare.

“As sergeant of the guard—­no, Nixon, my good fellow, that will never do.  The three men you have named, are, with myself, quite enough.  Be on the look-out though, to let us in on our return.  Have you provided a dark lantern?”

“Yes, sir, Collins has the lantern belonging to the guard house.”

“Good.  I will follow you in a moment, Elmsley,” he continued, rising and draining off his half-emptied glass, “lend me your prayer-book.  I wish that you could be present at this dismal ceremony, but of course that is wholly out of the question.”

“It is, indeed, my dear fellow.  It would never do for us both to be absent.  Not only ourselves but the men would be brought into the scrape, for you know Headley always sleeps with one eye open.”

“I do not like to do any thing clandestinely,” remarked the ensign—­“particularly after our reconciliation with him.  Moreover, it is, as you say, in some degree compromising the men and myself with them.  I have a great mind before I start to see and explain every thing to Headley, and obtain his sanction to my absence.”

“Nonsense,” returned his friend, “he will never know it; besides it is possible that he may refuse to let you go before morning, and your object is, of course, to have every thing finished to-night.  Take my advice; go without speaking to him on the subject, and if your remorse of conscience,” and he smiled archly, “be so great afterwards, as to deprive you of more rest and appetite than you lost after killing that poor devil of a Winnebago, go to him as you did before—­confess that you have again been a naughty boy—­ask his pardon, and I am sure he will forgive the crime.”

“Well, I believe you are right.  Be it so.  Adieu, I shall be back within a couple of hours at the latest.”

“If you do, you will in all probability find me still poring over this old Intelligencer, which is full of rumors of approaching war with the British.”

“I shall be more inclined to hug my pillow,” replied the ensign as he departed, “for I must again cross to the cottage, and be back here before guard-mounting to-morrow.”

Within ten minutes the party—­two of them having borne the empty coffin, and the corporal the necessary implements, stood near the rose-tree in the garden.  The body of Mr. Heywood was disinterred—­the bark in which it lay wound round with many folds of a large sheet, and placed in the coffin, which after being screwed down, was deposited in a grave dug at least five feet under the surface.  Then commenced the burial service, which was read by the young officer in a slow and impressive tone, and by the light of the shaded lantern, which, falling obliquely upon the forms of the men, discovered them standing around the grave—­one foot resting on the edge—­the other drawn back, as they awaited the signal to lower their almost offensive burden into its last resting-place.  At length the prayers for the dead were ended, and the grave was carefully filled up, leaving as before, no inequality, but too deep to attract the scent of Loup Garou.  Then after having dug up a few small roots of the sweet briar, and placed them at intervals on the newly-turned earth.  Ronayne crossed with his little party to the Fort, glad to obtain a few hours of that repose, for which the harassing events of the day had so much predisposed him.

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Hardscrabble; or, the fall of Chicago. a tale of Indian warfare from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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