Mary Hartwell Catherwood
Marianson, by Mary Hartwell

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Title: Marianson From "Mackinac And Lake Stories", 1899
Author: Mary Hartwell Catherwood
Release Date: October 30, 2007 [EBook #23251]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by David Widger

From "Mackinac And Lake Stories", 1899
By Mary Hartwell Catherwood

When the British landed on the west side of Mackinac Island at three
o'clock in the morning of July 17,1812, Canadians were ordered to
transport the cannon. They had only a pair of six-pounders, but these
had to be dragged across the long alluvial stretch to heights which
would command the fortress, and sand, rock, bushes, trees, and fallen
logs made it a dreadful portage. Voyageurs, however, were men to
accomplish what regulars and Indians shirked.
All but one of the hundred and sixty Canadians hauled with a good will
on the cannon ropes. The dawn was glimmering. Paradise hid in the
untamed island, breathing dew and spice. The spell worked instantly
upon that one young voyageur whose mind was set against the secret
attack. All night his rage had been swelling. He despised the British
regulars-forty-two lords of them only being in this expedition-as they in
turn despised his class. They were his conquerors. He had no desire to
be used as means of pushing their conquest further. These islanders he
knew to be of his own race, perhaps crossed with Chippewa blood.
Seven hundred Indians, painted and horned for war, skulked along as
allies in the dim morning twilight. He thought of sleeping children
roused by tomahawk and scalping-knife in case the surprised fort did
not immediately surrender. Even then, how were a few hundred white
men to restrain nearly a thousand savages?
The young Canadian, as a rush was made with the ropes, stumbled over
a log and dropped behind a bush. His nearest companions scarcely
noticed the desertion in their strain, but the officer instantly detailed an
"One of you Sioux bring that fellow back or bring his scalp."
A Sioux stretched forward and leaped eagerly into the woods. All the
boy's years of wilderness training were concentrated on an escape. The
English officer meant to make him a lesson to the other voyageurs. And
he smiled as he thought of the race he could give the Sioux. All his
arms except his knife were left behind the bush; for fleet-ness was to
count in this venture. The game of life or death was a pretty one, to be
enjoyed as he shot from tree to tree, or like a noiseless-hoofed deer

made a long stretch of covert. He was alive through every blood drop.
The dewy glory of dawn had never seemed so great. Cool as the Sioux
whom he dodged, his woodsman's eye gathered all aspects of the
strange forest. A detached rock, tall as a tree, raised its colossal altar,
surprising the eye like a single remaining temple pillar.
Old logs, scaled as in a coat of mail, testified to the humidity of this
lush place. The boy trod on sweet white violets smelling of incense.
The wooded deeps unfolded in thinning dusk and revealed a line of
high verdant cliffs walling his course. He dashed through hollows
where millions of ferns bathed him to the knees. As daylight
grew--though it never was quite daylight there-so did his danger. He
expected to hear the humming of an arrow, and perhaps to feel a shock
and sting and cleaving of the bolt, and turned in recklessly to climb for
the uplands, where after miles of jutting spurs the ridge stooped and
pushed out in front of itself a round-topped rock. As the Canadian
passed this rock a yellow flare like candle-light came through a crack at
its base.
He dropped on all-fours. The Indian was not in sight. He squirmed
within a low battlement of serrated stone guarding the crack, and let
himself down into what appeared to be the mouth of a cave. The
opening was so low as to be invisible just outside the serrated
breastwork. He found himself in a room of rock, irregularly hollow
above, with a candle burning on the stone floor. As he sat upright and
stretched forth a hand to pinch off the flame, the image of a sleeping
woman was printed on his eyeballs so that he saw every careless ring of
fair hair around her head and every curve of her body for hours
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