The Fighting-Slogan - H.A. Cody - ebook
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This is a rare genre, namely historical fiction. You will learn what role the Fenians played in New Brunswick’s determination to become part of the Confederation of Canada. This book has become a revelation for many people. And she revealed the secrets of historical events.

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Liczba stron: 427

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Contents

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 6

CHAPTER 7

CHAPTER 8

CHAPTER 9

CHAPTER 10

CHAPTER 11

CHAPTER 12

CHAPTER 13

CHAPTER 14

CHAPTER 15

CHAPTER 16

CHAPTER 17

CHAPTER 18

CHAPTER 19

CHAPTER 20

CHAPTER 21

CHAPTER 22

CHAPTER 23

CHAPTER 24

CHAPTER 25

CHAPTER 26

CHAPTER 27

CHAPTER 28

CHAPTER 29

CHAPTER 30

CHAPTER 31

CHAPTER 32

CHAPTER 33

CHAPTER 34

CHAPTER 35

CHAPTER 1

IN THE JAWS

The jaws of the steel trap leaped together, caught and held Drum Rowan’s left hand as if in a vise. With a startled groan he staggered back, and then exerted the entire weight of his free hand and right foot upon the springs, thus forcing the jaws to release their savage grip.

“It’s lucky I had my mitt on,” he muttered. “My! how my hand hurts.” He pulled off the mitten and looked at the red streak across the back of his fingers. “I wonder what made that trap spring, anyway. Such a thing never happened to me before. Hettie would say it’s a sign of bad luck, but I don’t believe such nonsense.”

His manner, however, somewhat belied his words, for he glanced a little anxiously around, and then up at the high hills surrounding him. He was standing in a wooded valley at a spot where two brooks meet. To the right the land rises abruptly until it terminates in a long curved peak, thickly wooded. There is a similar formation on the left of the valley, and owing to this peculiarity the place was commonly known as “The Jaws.” Indian tradition told of titanic deeds enacted there in ages past, when the mighty Glooscap, pursuing his enemies, had rent the earth asunder and made a way for himself to the noble river beyond. Even in later days many looked upon the place with a superstitious dread, and related tales ofweird sounds heard there at night. Once a man was found dead in the valley in mid-winter, and this naturally increased the fear surrounding the locality.

With these Drum Rowan was well acquainted, and although not superstitious by nature, he was aware of a strange sensation creeping over him as he recalled some of the stories. This soon vanished, however, as he bent to his task of re-setting the trap. He was more careful this time, keeping his hands clear of the pan when sprinkling it lightly with a thin layer of snow. This accomplished, he picked up his gun, which was standing against a tree, turned to the left and moved swiftly forward.

The afternoon of the short winter day was drawing to a close, and shades of evening were stealing slowly over the valley as Drum made his way up the little brook toward a clearing beyond. The walking was not difficult, as a recent rain, followed by a cold snap, had settled and hardened the snow. Several times he stopped to examine tracks of wild animals, especially those of a sliding otter, and then the expression upon his face revealed his satisfaction.

“I’ll show Tom and Bill Daggert a thing or two,” he mused. “They are always talking about the ill-luck of this valley, and telling scare-yarns. I was foolish to have paid any heed to them, and should have set traps here long ago. Why this is a natural run-way, and I should get something big before long. I’ll have the laugh on Tom and Bill yet, see if I don’t.”

Pressing onward, he came in a few minutes to a rough narrow wood-road. This surprised him, for he had no idea that anyone did any lumbering in the valley where the trees were of little value. But here was a road with old marks showing that a sled had passed over it. There were also human footprints, evidently made some time before the last thaw. At this spot the road touched the little brook and then swerved off to the right, straight toward the steep bank beyond.

Drum’s curiosity was now thoroughly aroused. What reason could there be for a road in such a rough place? He must see where it led, and if possible solve the mystery. Hastening along, it look him but a short time to come close to a great ledge of rocks which rose abruptly from the valley to an irregular height of from twenty to forty feet. A heavy thicket of trees surrounded the base, through which the road wound. Drum noted that a number of trees had been recently cut and their tops left lying upon the ground. This at first led him to believe that someone had been lumbering there, the Daggert brothers, perhaps, who needed those trees for some special purpose. He changed his mind, however, when he noticed that the trees had been dragged toward the ledge instead of away from it. That was certainly remarkable, as there was no possible outlet for the logs ahead.

A few rods beyond he came in sight of the flinty wall, and instead of the road ending there it turned sharply to the right. Following this, he ere long saw something which caused his eyes to open wide in amazement. It was a cabin, cosily situated in an opening in the ledge. Rocks formed part of the two sides upon which several small logs had been laid to increase the height. The roof was made of poles, well covered with large strips of birch bark to shed the rain. Stout portions of logs, about eight feet long, placed on end, enclosed the front of the building. Here was a door, made of sawn boards, fastened on the outside with a wooden latch.

Drum examined this structure most carefully before venturing near. He was more puzzled now than ever. He had never heard of anyone camping here, and he knew the woods and the country for many miles around. It was a wonder that the Daggert brothers had never mentioned it, as the ledge was so near their house. But perhaps they knew nothing about it, and if so it was strange for there was little that escaped their ferret-like eyes.Drum smiled as he pictured their astonishment when he told them of his discovery.

Seeing no one near the cabin, he slowly, and warily advanced until he reached the building. Lifting the latch, he opened the door and peered in. All was dark inside, with no sign of life. Drawing forth a piece of candle from a pocket in his jacket, he lighted it, and then stepped cautiously within. A small stove and a rough table surrounded by several blocks of wood to serve as seats were all the articles the cabin contained. There was no floor, merely the bare ground, while at one side were some old fir and spruce boughs which evidently had been used for a bed. He searched carefully, but could find no clue whatsoever as to the occupants of the place.

Drum’s curiosity was now fully aroused. There was something strange about this cabin situated in such a concealed spot. What did it mean? he asked himself. Stepping outside, he noticed that the road he had followed did not end here, but continued along the foot of the rocky ledge. Extinguishing the candle, he hurried forward, hoping to find some solution to the mystery. Perhaps, after all, the road might wind around to the brook farther down, and had been used by some nearby farmer. But why would anyone in the parish need such a cabin as the one but a short distance away? It was all very puzzling.

Rounding at length a sharp bend where an exceptionally large mass of rugged rocks jutted forth, the road suddenly ended. Drum stopped and peered in every direction, but for a minute or two he looked in vain for any enlightenment to the problem. No one had been lumbering there, for the trees which crowded almost up to the base of the ledge were untouched. There was merely the narrow bare space close to the cliff which the road followed.

Drum was about to return for another more thorough search of the cabin, but before doing so he stepped tothe extreme end of the road. As he did so, his eyes caught sight of old footprints in the snow in a deep crevice between two large overhanging rocks. Here was something needing investigation, so leaving the road, he scrambled up over a heap of stones from which the thaw had melted the snow. The footprints beyond were plainly visible and led to the left around a sharp point of rock. A few steps brought him in view of something which arrested his immediate attention. It was the thick top of a green spruce tree lying close to the base of the ledge. It was strange for this to be in such a position as it could not have fallen so far from any tree on the opposite side of the road. It must have been dragged there for some definite purpose. Just what that was Drum could not tell until he had pulled it aside, when an opening of several feet in extent was exposed, leading right into the wall of rock. Drum gave a low whistle of surprise, certain now that he had come upon something of real importance. That this hole led into a cave he felt sure, so stooping, he peered within. But nothing could he see, for all was in darkness. Again lighting his candle, he crawled in through the opening on his hands and knees, keeping the candle well in front of him. When inside, he stopped, squatted on the ground and peered around. His gun he held in readiness, not knowing what to expect next. The roof of the cave was only about five feet high and seven wide, but how long he could not tell. A creepy feeling possessed him as he crept cautiously forward. The air was oppressive and he longed to turn back. But he did want to find out what lay beyond, and also the size of this rocky tunnel. When he had advanced about five yards, he noticed a number of objects lined along the right wall. By the light of the candle, he soon noticed that they were powder kegs, and a large number of them, at that. Stooping, he was enabled to see the letters “P” upon some and “B” upon others.

“Powder and bullets!” he exclaimed. “Now, what intime are they doing here? Who can have any use for so much ammunition? I wonder how many kegs there are?”

He began to count, but had not proceeded far when a piece of torn paper lying near one of the kegs attracted his attention. This he at once picked up, held it close to the candle and began to read. As he did so, he understood the meaning of that rough road, the cabin among the rocks, and the ammunition concealed in the cave.

“To the People of America,” so ran the writing. “We come among you as the foes of the British. We have taken up the sword to strike down the oppressor’s rod, to deliver Ireland from the tyrant, the robber. We have registered our oaths upon the altar of our country in the full view of heaven, and sent up our vows to the Throne of Him who inspired them. Then, looking about us for an enemy, we find him here, here in your midst where he is most accessible and convenient to our strength, etc.

“The spirit of our organization is running like an electric current in the east, north, and west where hundreds of thousands warn England that her tyranny over our native country must end.”

Drum’s hands trembled with excitement, and his eyes blazed with anger. The whole mystery was now solved. Strange that he had not thought of it sooner. He knew of the anxiety throughout the country caused by the threatened Fenian Raid from across the Border. It was household talk, and everywhere soldiers were being drilled to repel the invaders. So the storing of these kegs of powder and bullets was but a part of the preparation in the general scheme of attack. Unexpectedly he had come across this cave, and how was he to use the knowledge in his possession? To whom should he take that piece of paper? He looked at it again, and his eyes rested uponthe words, in big letters, “On to Canada,” followed by the doggerel lines,

“We are a Fenian Brotherhood, skilled in the arts of war, And we’re going to fight for Ireland, the land that we adore, Many battles we have fought, along with the boys in blue, And we’ll go and capture Canada, for we’ve nothing else to do.”

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