But the Canadian drew no such inference from these facts. Although he could not speak the Winnebago language, he was too conversant with the customs of the Indians, to perceive, in what they permitted in this seeming confidence, anything but guile. He felt assured they had allowed the boy to depart on his errand solely that they might have a greater number of victims in their power. Nothing was more easy, numerous as they were, than to despatch them, and then, lying in ambush among the trees that skirted the banks, to shoot down every one in the fishing boat before a landing could be effected, and preparations made for defence; while, in the indifference of their conduct in regard to the departure of Ephraim Giles, he saw but a design to disarm suspicion, and thus induce them to lay by their arms, the reports of which would necessarily alarm the party expected, and so far put them on their guard as to defeat their plans. The very appearance of Giles, moreover, crossing the water, if seen by the descending boat would, he thought they imagined, be a means of lulling the party into security, and thus rendering them a more easy prey.
While the master and the servant were thus indulging their opposite reflections, without, however, making any intercommunication of them, Ephraim Giles, who had now thrust his knife and stick into the pocket of his short skirt, shoved off the only canoe that was to be seen, and stepping into it, and seizing the paddle, urged it slowly, and without the slightest appearance of hurry, to the opposite bank, where, within less than ten minutes, he had again hauled it up. Then, as coolly ascending the bank, he approached one of the haystacks, and drew from it a few handfuls of fodder which he spread upon the ground, continuing to do so, as the cattle assembled around, until he had gained the outermost haystack bordering immediately upon the wood. This reached, he gave a loud yell, which was promptly answered by the Indians, who had continued to watch his movements up to the very moment of his disappearance; and darting along a narrow path which skirted the wood, ran with all his speed towards the Fort. His flight had not lasted five minutes, when the reports of several guns, fired from the direction he had just quitted, met his ear, and urged him to even greater exertion, until at length, haggard and breathless, he gained his destination, and made his way to the commanding officer, to whom he briefly detailed the startling occurrences he had witnessed.
The Fort of Chicago, at that period, stood upon a portion of the same ground occupied by its successor, and was, in fact, a very epitome of a fortress. On the western side, two block-houses constituted its chief defence, while on the north, a subterranean passage led from the parade-ground to the river, near the banks of which it had been erected. The uses of this sally port were two-fold—firstly,