The King’s Arrow. A Tale of the United Empire Loyalists - H.A. Cody - ebook
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This is a wonderful romantic story. All events take place in the forests of New Brunswick at the time of the arrival of the Loyalists. A charming tale of perseverance and loyalty to King George after the American Revolution. It hooks each historical basis.

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Liczba stron: 410

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Contents

I. When The Cannon Roared

II. “Come And Take It”

III. Cupid’s Arrow

IV. The Warning

V. “Try It”

VI. When The Bow-String Twanged

VII. Out Of The Storm

VIII. Beneath The Spreading Maple

IX. Love’s Charm

X. While The Water Flows

XI. The Summons

XII. Plotters In Council

XIII. The King’s Rangers

XIV. Where The Rangers Led

XV. The Line In The Sand

XVI. Under Cover Of Night

XVII. The Unknown Quantity

XVIII. Loyal Friends

XIX. The Smoke Signal

XX. Tempered Punishment

XXI. Through The Wilderness

XXII. In Desperate Straits

XXIII. Six Candles And One

XXIV. Timon Of The Wilderness

XXV. Unmasked

XXVI. Behind The Bolted Door

XXVII. Through The Night And The Storm

XXVIII. Within The Lone Cabin

XXIX. Sheltering Arms

XXX. The Round-Up

XXXI. Peace At Evening Time

XXXII. After Many Days

XXXIII. Seeds Of Empire

CHAPTER I. WHEN THE CANNON ROARED

A keen wind whipping in from the west swayed the tops of innumerable pines, firs, spruces, and maples. They were goodly trees, unharmed as yet by scathing fire or biting axe. Proudly they lifted their crests to the wind and the sun, while down below, their great boles were wrapped in perpetual shade and calm. Life, mysterious life, lurked within those brooding depths, and well did the friendly trees keep the many secrets of the denizens of the wild.

Through that trackless maze two wayfarers warily threaded their course on a chill May day in the year seventeen hundred and eighty-three. They were men, and their speed denoted the urgency of the business upon which they were bent. They were clad in buckskin jackets, and homespun trousers, which showed signs of hard usage. Moccasins encased their feet, and squirrel-skin caps sat lightly upon their heads. Each carried a heavy flint-lock musket in his hand, while at his side swung the inevitable powder-horn, hung low enough so as not to interfere with the small pack strapped across the shoulders.

Both travellers were peering intently forward, and when at length the glint of shimmering water glimmered through the trees their faces brightened with satisfaction. But just then the leader stopped dead in his tracks, and glanced anxiously to the left. He was an Indian of magnificent physique, and princely bearing, as straight as the trees around him. His companion, too, was standing in a listening attitude a few feet away. His keen ears had also caught a sound, and he knew its meaning. He was a white man, much younger than the Indian, although from his deeply-bronzed face he might have been mistaken for a native. He measured up nobly to the other in size and bearing, as well as in strength, woodland skill, and endurance on the trail.

“Slashers, Pete, eh?” he questioned in a low voice.

“A-ha-ha,” was the reply. “No meet ‘em, Dane. Too many. We go round.”

Without another word he swung sharply to the right, and led the way to the water in a wide circle. Cautiously they approached the shore, and then keeping within the edge of the forest they moved slowly along, most of the time upon their hands and knees. Occasionally they paused to listen, but the only sounds they heard were the ones which had first arrested their attention, although much nearer now.

Presently they stopped and from a thicket of bushes drew forth a birch canoe, which had been cunningly hidden. It took them but a few minutes to carry it to the water, step lightly aboard, and push away from the shore. Each seized a paddle, and soon the canoe was headed for the open, with Dane squatting forward, and the Indian seated astern.

Less hardy souls would have hesitated ere venturing out upon that angry stretch of water in such a frail craft. The crooked Kennebacasis was showing its temper in no uncertain manner. Exposed to the full rake of the strong westerly wind, the waves were running high, and breaking into white-caps, threatened to engulf the reeling canoe. But the Indian was master of the situation, and steered so skilfully that only an occasional wisp of spray was flung on board.

They had gone about two hundred yards when a shot rang out from the shore, and a bullet whistled past their heads. Glancing quickly around, they saw several men in the distance with muskets in their hands. They were shouting words of defiance to which the canoeists made no reply. Intuitively Dane reached for his musket, but a sharp warning from the Indian caused him to desist.

“No shoot,” he ordered. “Paddle. Quick.”

And in truth there was urgent need, for the canoe had swung somewhat to the left and was in danger of being swamped by the big waves as they rolled and tossed their white foamy manes. Another bullet sang by as Dane drove his paddle into the water and forced the canoe into the eye of the wind just as a larger wave than usual was about to break. To attempt to shoot he realised would be useless, although he longed to have a try at the insulting slashers. But to reach the opposite shore in safety would require every ounce of strength and utmost skill, so he bent steadily to his task and paid no further heed to the men upon the shore.

Ahead lay two islands, separated by a narrow strip of water, and toward this opening they directed their course. It was a hard fight, and only men of great strength and thoroughly-developed muscles could have accomplished the task. Reeling, dipping, lifting, and sliding, the canoe pressed on, a fragile thing in the grip of an angry monster. But bear up it did and rode proudly at last into the smooth water between the two islands. Here the men rested and mopped their moist foreheads.

“Bad blow,” the Indian casually remarked.

“Pretty heavy,” Dane replied. “I wish the slashers had come after us.”

“Slashers, ugh! Cowards! No come. Bimeby me ketch ’em. Me fix ‘em, all sam’ skunk.”

Dane smiled as he again dipped his paddle into the water.

“Come, Pete, let’s get on. There’s a nasty run ahead, and it’ll take us over two hours after we land to reach the Fort.”

“Plenty rum to-night, eh?” the Indian queried, as he guided the canoe out into the open.

“Not plenty, remember, Pete. You’ve got to be careful this time and not take too much. If there are slashers hanging around the trading post they’ll be only too anxious to get you drunk, and put you out of business. There’s too much at stake to run any risk.”

“Umph! me no get drunk,” the Indian retorted. “Me no fool. Me no crazee white man.”

It took them almost a half hour to cross to the mainland. Here they landed, concealed the canoe, and ate a frugal meal of bread and dried meat. This detained them but a short time, and they then started forth upon the trail which led along the river not far from the shore. They swung rapidly on their way, up hill and down, leaping small brooks, and crossing swamps overgrown with a tangle of alders, rank grass, and succulent weeds. Small game was plentiful. Rabbits scurried across the trail, and partridges rose and whirred among the trees. But the travellers never paused in their onward march. Although they had been on the way since early morning, they showed no sign of fatigue. Their strong athletic bodies, bent somewhat forward, swayed in rythmic motion, and their feet beat a silent tatoo upon the well-worn trail.

For over an hour they kept up this swinging gait, and only slowed down when at length the trail led them out of the thick forest into a great open portion of the country. This was marshland, and it spread out before them miles in extent. To the right were rugged wooded hills, while far away to the left the cold steel glitter of the Bay of Fundy could be distinctly seen.

For a few minutes they stopped to rest on this commanding elevation, Dane’s whole soul athrill at the wonderful panorama thus suddenly presented to view. His eyes glowed, and he eagerly inhaled great draughts of the invigorating tang wafted in from the far distant sea.

“My, that’s fine!” he ejaculated, giving a deep sigh of satisfaction. “That puts new life into one, eh, Pete?”

The Indian’s mind, however, was not upon the marvellous things of nature. He was gazing intently down toward the marshland where something had attracted his attention.

“Plenty duck down dere,” he replied. “Me get ’em bimeby.”

Dane smiled, picked up his musket, and looked quizzically at his companion.

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