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      'skirmishing' 103"What!" he cried. "Oh, if you knew how you tempted me!"

      At twenty-three he was a lieutenant-colonel, commanding his regiment in the then dirty and barbarous town of Inverness, amid a disaffected and turbulent population whom it was his duty to keep in order: a difficult task, which he accomplished so well as to gain the special commendation of the King, and even the goodwill of the Highlanders themselves. He was five years among these northern hills, battling with ill-health, and restless under the intellectual barrenness of his surroundings. He felt his position to be in no way salutary, and wrote to his mother: "The fear of becoming a mere ruffian and of imbibing the tyrannical principles of an absolute commander, or giving way insensibly to the temptations of power till I became proud, insolent, and intolerable,these considerations will make me wish to leave the regiment before next winter; that by frequenting men above myself I may know my true condition, and by discoursing 186

      He moved close to her. "Pen dear, don't quarrel with me! We have only a moment. Even this is risky. There are more men coming along the road."

      Si and Shorty were, as usual, among the first to take their places in line. They were pleasantly greeted by the Captain, who had come out on the run at the last moment, and wriggled himself into his coat as he strode along the company street. The Captain did not very often appear at morning rollcall. But one officer of the company was required to be present, and the Captain generally loaded this duty upon the Lieutenants "turn about." If he did show up, he would go back to bed and snooze for an hour while the cook was getting breakfast. If one of the men did that he would soon be promenading with a rail on his shoulder or standing on a barrel with a stick or a bayonet tied in his mouth.[798] Mmoire pour servir d'Instruction M. de Ramesay, 13 Sept. 1759. Appended, with the foregoing notes, to the Mmoire de Ramesay.

      V1 but use the Canadians and Indians to harass the enemy. Don't expose yourself; send me to carry your orders to points of danger.' The colony officers do not like those from France. The Canadians are independent, spiteful, lying, boastful; very good for skirmishing, very brave behind a tree, and very timid when not under cover. I think both sides will stand on the defensive. It does not seem to me that M. de Montcalm means to attack the enemy; and I think he is right. In this country a thousand men could stop three thousand." [379]

      "Hello, Si," said Shorty; "whar ye bin? What d'ye mean, goin' off 'n' leavin' yer sowbelly half done?"The various bands of fugitives rejoined each other towards night, and encamped in the forest; then made their way round the southern shoulder of French Mountain, till, in the next evening, they reached their canoes. Their plight was deplorable; for they had left their knapsacks behind, and were spent with fatigue and famine.


      Suiting the action to the word, Si crept up to a fence, thrust his gun between the rails, took good aim and fired.


      "How can we get away without passing them?" Don asked. "Give me some idea of the lie of the land.""Soon there was a complete bust-up of the Riever establishment. Nell sued him for divorce. She had cause enough God knows. His affairs were notorious. He set up a countersuit and produced a letter in court that Nell had written to some unnamed man. Ernest had intercepted it. Well this letter was published and I knew by internal evidence that it was ... well you know ... it had been written to me. A man hates to tell these things about himself! Poor girl! Just a foolish impulse no doubt, that she regretted as soon as she had given away to it! Anyhow the letter was thrown out and she got her divorce with thumping alimony."


      Fort Ontario, counted as the best of the three forts at Oswego, stood on a high plateau at the east or right side of the river where it entered the lake. It was in the shape of a star, and was formed of trunks of trees set upright in the ground, hewn flat on two sides, and closely fitted together,an excellent defence against musketry or swivels, but worthless against cannon. The garrison, three hundred and seventy in all, were the remnant of Pepperell's regiment, joined to raw recruits lately sent up to fill the places of the sick and dead. They had eight small cannon and a mortar, with which on the next day, Friday, the thirteenth, they kept up a brisk fire till towards night; when, after growing more rapid for a time, it ceased, and the fort showed no sign of life. Not a cannon had yet opened on them from the trenches; but it was certain that with the French artillery once in action, their wooden rampart would be shivered to splinters. Hence it was that Colonel Mercer, commandant at Oswego, thinking it better to lose the fort than to lose both fort and garrison, signalled to them from across the river to abandon their position and join him on the other side. Boats were sent to bring them off; and they passed over unmolested, after 411