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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 from his departure, he again hauled it up. Then, as coolly ascending the bank, he approached one of the haystacks, and drew from it a few armsfull of fodder, which he spread upon the ground, continuing to do so as the cattle assembled around, until he had gained the outermost stack bordering immediately upon the wood. This reached, he gave a loud yell, which was promptly answered in the fiercest tone of disappointment 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 woods, ran with all his speed towards the Fort, hallooing and giving the alarm as he went. His flight had not lasted five minutes when the reports of several guns, fired in 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 on a portion of the same ground now occupied by its successor, and was in fact a very epitome of a fortress. On the western side, two blockhouses 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 sallyport were twofold; first, to afford the garrison a supply of water in the event of a siege—secondly, to facilitate escape, if necessary. The country around, now a scene of fruitfulness and industry, was at that time a wilderness, tenanted only by the savage, and by the few daring and adventurous whites who had devoted their lives to purposes of traffic among them; yet their number was so small as to induce them, with a view to their safety, to establish themselves as near the fort as possible. Roads there were none, and the half-formed trail of the Indian furnished the only means of communication between this distant part and the less thickly settled portions of Michigan. Nor were these journeys of frequent occurrence, but performed at long intervals, by the enterprising and robust men who
feared not to encounter privation and hardship —encamping at night in the woods, or finding a less desirable repose in the squalid wigwam of the uncertain Indian.
On the same side of the river was the government agency house, and about a quarter of a mile from that a spot generally used as a place of encampment by the friendly Indians, now occupied by a numerous band of Pottawatomies. Immediately opposite the Fort itself stood the residence and trading establishment of Mr. Mackenzie—a gentleman who hod long mixed with the Indians, had much influence with, and was highly regarded by them; and close to his abode lived with his family, consisting of his wife and her sister—French Canadians like himself,—Ouilmette, one of the most attached of his people, and enjoying almost equal popularity with the red men. About a quarter of a mile beyond Ouilmette's, and immediately opposite to the Pottawatomie encampment, from which it was divided only by the river, was another small but neat dwelling. This belonged to Mr. Heywood, and was then inhabited by his wife and daughter, both of whom, like himself, had seen better days, and whom he would not permit to reside at the farm, as well on account of its rudeness of accommodation, as of the dread of exposing them, in that remote situation, to the very danger which we have seen he had himself so recently encountered.
Such was the civilian population of that sparsely inhabited country in 1812. Let us now see the strength of its garrison. For the defence of so distant an outpost, almost cut off, as we have already shown, from communication with the more inhabited portions of the state, the American government had not thought it requisite to provide more than a single company of soldiers, a force utterly inadequate to contend, in a case of emergency, with the hordes of savages that could be collected around them within a few hours,—and weeks before succour of any efficient kind could be received. This error, grave at any time, in those who sought to extend the influence of their name and arms throughout that fertile region, which has now, within the lapse of little more than a quarter of a century, become the very head of American commerce and navigation, was especially so at this particular epoch, when the Indian spirit, stirred to exertion by the great chief, who had so recently measured his strength with his natural enemies at Tippecanoe, was likely to be aroused on all occasions where facility of conquest seemed to present itself. And yet that government well knew that there were, even at that moment, difficulties subsisting between themselves and Great Britain of a character to lead to an interruption of the friendly intercourse that had hitherto subsisted between the two countries, and which, if suffered to ripen into hostilities, would necessarily associate many of the Indian tribes with the forces of England, drawing down certain destruction on those remote parts, whose chief hope of immunity from danger lay, in a great degree, on the array of strength they could oppose to their subtle and calculating enemy.
This company, consisting of seventy-five men —many of them married, and with families— was under the command of an officer whose conduct throughout these eventful and trying scenes to be recorded, has often been the subject of much censure;—with what justice the reader will determine.
Captain Headly was one of those officers who, without having acquired greater rank at the age of forty than he now possessed, had served in the army of the United States from his boyhood, and was, in all the minutiae of the service, a strict disciplinarian. He had in his earlier service acquired those habits of discipline and deference to authority which caused him, on all necessary occasions, to regulate his conduct by the orders of his superiors, and so strongly was this engrafted on his very nature, that, while possessing mind, energy, and resolution sufficient to plan the most feasible measures, his dread of that responsibility which circumstances had now forced upon him, induced the utmost disinclination to depart from the letter of an instruction once received and unrevoked.
These, however, were purely faults of his military education. To a commanding person and dignified manner Captain Headly united a mind highly cultivated, and feelings and sentiments which could not fail to secure the respect even of those most ready to condemn that caution and prudence of character which Ro eminently distinguished his career as a subordinate soldier. It was well known and conceded that, if he erred, the error grew not so much out of his own want of judgment, but was rather the fruit of the too great deference he paid to the judgment of others. In the private relations of life he was both liked and esteemed, excelling in all those lighter accomplishments that insure favour with society, and seldom fail to win for their possessor the approbation of women. Such, indeed, had been his success in this particular application of the gifts with which nature had endowed him, that he had for some years been the possessor of the affections and hand of one of the noblest of her sex.
The next officer in rank was Lieutenant Elmsley, married also, and about ten years the junior of Headly. From particular causes
the subaltern did not incline to repose that confidence in the measures or judgment of his captain, which it has been shown the latter almost invariably accorded to those in authority above himself; and hence arose feelings that, without absolutely alienating them—for in their relative military positions this could never be —rendered their intercourse daily more and more formal, until in the end, a sentiment almost of enmity prevailed. In a remote garrison like this such an evil was the more to be regretted, even while there was the greater probability, from absence of serious occupation, of its occurrence.
The junior subaltern was Ensign Renayne, a high-spirited young southerner, who had now been three years at the post, and, within that period had, by his frank demeanour and handsome person, won the regard of all—military and civil—in the neighbourhood. Enterprising, ardent, fearless, and chivalrous, this young man had passed the first year of what he then considered his banishment to this remote region, in a restless desire for adventure, but at the end of that year came a change over him, and the spirit that had panted exclusively for action, now bent before a gentler influence.
Last of the officers of this little fort was the surgeon-doctor Von Vottenberg, who, as his name would imply, was a descendant of one of the earlier families of Dutch settlers in the colonies, subsequently the United States. There was nothing remarkable about this gentleman. He was short, stout, rather of a bilious temperament, clever in his profession, and much addicted to compounding whiskey punch, which he not only brewed, but drank most satisfactorily.
Such were the parties at the moment when Ephraim Giles, breathless with speed and fancying the fierce Winnebagoes close upon his heels, made his entry into the Fort. The news he brought was of a nature to assemble the officers, as well as many of the men and women, anxious to hear all the details of an occurrence which now, for the first time since their arrival at the post, had created anything like serious apprehension.
But there was one of the officers who manifested more than ordinary uneasiness. His impatience was great, and, after having whispered a few words in the ear of Captain Headly, and received an affirmative reply, coupled with an injunction of caution, he left the building in haste, and proceeded towards the blockhouses, where, selecting half a dozen men and ordering them to arm on the instant, he passed with them through the gate—sprang into a large scow which was unchained from its moorings on the bank of the river, and steered in the direction of the house already said to have been occupied by Mrs. Haywood and her daughter.
Meanwhile Captain Headly closely interrogated the fugitive as to the number and appearance of the Indians who had created all this alarm—their probable object in visiting the farm in this seemingly hostile manner— and the number of shots he had heard fired. To all these questions the soldier, who had now in some degree recovered from his panic, answered in his usual drawling tone, his stick and knife, which had been drawn from the recesses of one of his skirts, affording him his usual amusement; but nothing of course was elicited beyond what already has been related. Whether any one had been killed in the house, or the guns merely discharged to frighten the fugitive—or that the reports had proceeded from the fishing-party that had been sent for, with a view to alarm the Indians, and deter them from the commission of outrage, were surmises that severally occurred to Captain Headly, but without enabling him to arrive at any definite conclusion. That there was every cause for apprehension he had no doubt. The appearance of a band of strange Indians in the neighbourhood, however small in number, dressed in their war-paint, gave earnest of coming trouble not only through their own acts, but by the influence of example on the many Indians they had been accustomed to look upon as friends and allies. In the midst of these reflections arose a feeling of self-gratulation that he had preserved that discipline, and that attention to duty, which he knew that all must now admit to have been correct, and which, if any difficulty did occur, could not fail to prove of the utmost importance.
His first consideration now was the safety of the small fishing-party to whioh we have already alluded, and who, it was matter of more than usual satisfaction to him to recollect, were, in accordance with an order never departed from on these and similar occasions, furnished with the necessary arms and ammunition, although only in their fatigue dress.
"Mr. Elmsley," he said, turning to that officer, who seemed to be waiting his orders, "who commands the fishing-party?"
"Corporal Nixon, sir," replied the lieutenant, at once entering into the motive for the inquiry—"a brave but discreet soldier, and one who, I am sure, will evince all necessary resolution if he sees anything of these Indians. The men who are with him too arc all fine young fellows, and among our best shots."
"I am glad to hear this," was the rejoinder; "but still, twelve Indians firing from the woods upon half their number in an open boat, and taken by surprise, would, I fear, render the activity, courage, and skill of those latter but of little effect. My hope is that corporal Nixon may see nothing of them, but that, on the contrary, if he has been apprised by the boy, as this fellow states he was to be, of their presence at Heywood Farm, he will make his way back without stopping, or use every precaution to conceal himself until he can drop down under cover of the darkness."
"What, sir," returned the lieutenant with a surprise he could ill conceal, "would you desire him not to afford the necessary succour to Mr. Heywood, if indeed he should be in time to be of any service?"
"Mr. Elmsley," said his captain somewhat sternly, "my sympathy for the fate of those at the farm is perhaps quite as strong as yours, but I have a higher stake at issue—a higher object than the indulgence of personal sympathy. I can ill afford, threatening as appearances are at this moment, to risk the lives of six men—the best you say in the Fort—out of the very small force at my disposal. Nothing must be left undone to insure their safety. Order a gun to be fired immediately from the south bastion. It will be distinctly heard by the party, and if not already apprised of the existing danger, they will at once understand the signal. Besides, the report may also have the effect of alarming the Indians."
Lieutenant Elmsley withdrew to execute the order, and soon afterwards the dull booming of a cannon was heard, reverberating throughout the surrounding woods, and winding its echoes along the waters of the narrow and tranquil Chicago. So unusual an event as this excited a good deal of curiosity and speculation, not only among the inmates of the Fort, but among the numerous friendly Indians encamped without, who, wholly unacquainted with the cause of the alarm, were, by the strict orders of Captain Headly, kept ignorant of the information of which Ephraim Giles had been the bearer.
That night there was a more than ordinary vigilance exercised by the sentinels, and although all the rest of the garrison were exempt from extraordinary duty, the watchful and anxious commanding officer slept not.
(To be continued.)
Lrt it not be for a moment supposed that we are about to attempt a crnsade in defence of blue-stockings! Better undertake, singlehanded, to lay a T rail to the Pacifie, tunnelling the Rocky Mountains. Whether the prejudice entertained against this class—is it numerous enough to claim the title of a class ?—be just or not, it is most potent; and, like the deaf adder, it stoppeth its ears. We hardly know of one more obstinate, unless it be that against old maids,—or that other, perhaps worse one, against stepmothers.
Now prejudices are very respectable things. They have antiquity and ancestry in their favour. They enjoy unflinching allegiance from many very dignified and important people. They partake of the nature of faith, the most consolatory and consonant of all the tendencies of the human mind. They save the trouble of argument and reflection, and all the discomfort of doubt. Who then will rashly quarrel with prejudices?
To be sure they may be occasionally the cause of injustice; even the epithet cruel has been from time to time applied to them by precise and over-conscientious people. They often sweep into one category instances the most obviously incongruous, forcing into a single class individuals of all sizes, till the array is like that of the army in Bombastes Furioso, which consists of "three-foot drummer, six-foot fifer, two very odd privates, and the general." Prejudico never wastes time in sifting or weighing, measuring or comparing. It glories at once in the promptitude and the irrevocableness of its decisions. It is fond of whirling a sword horizontally, and feels quite clear of any guilt when heads are sliced off. The only thing that makes it at all nervous, is the head's venturing to talk afterwards. This is lite majett(—" most tolerable and not to be borne."
Therefore, we shall not attempt it,—least of all when literary women are in question. It is many a long year, many a dusty century, since this would have been safe. In the days of Miriam or Deborah, perhaps—but that was in the world's callow time, before lordship had become so much an object of desire among the stronger part of creation, and before education had been brought to offer its all-potent arm in aid of this design. Now-a-days, to be betrayed into the quixotism of defending blue-stockings,
is to allow one's self to be suspected of wearing them. The utmost extent to which our courage will carry us is some little examination, after the natural-history fashion; some search into growth and properties, aims, destiny, and uses or no-uses. And to keep very clear of all ungenerous imputations of sympathy, we shall take care to deal with the subject after the desultory, unsystematie, and feminine manner. We repudiate learning; we disclaim accuracy; we abjure logic. We shall aim only at the pretty prattle which is conceded to our sex as a right, and admired as a charm.
How many literary women has any one person ever seen? How many has the world seen? How would the list compare in length with that of the pretty triflers who never in the whole course of their mortal lives took up a book with the least intention of obtaining any information from it? The spite which is generally nourished against these unhappy ladies implies great respect; for their numbers are too insignificant to attract notice, if the individuals were not of consequence. And it may be noticed here, as being particularly curious, that the man who declaims loudest against the ideal of a writing woman, is sure to be most vain-glorious of the smallest literary performance on the part of his wife or daughter. The gift of a place does not sooner silence a vehement patriot, than the first essay or magazine story produced by a lady of his family, does the indignant definer of " woman's sphere," with a pudding and a shirt for its two poles.
But as to the comparative scarcity of literary ladies. It seems strange to a simple looker-on that they should not be prized, at least on the principle of the Queen Anne's farthing, which, valueless in itself, became precious because there were but four struck. There is not even yet a "mob of gentle[women] that write with ease." Women are said to be peculiarly favoured in the possession of the quality called "passive courage," (fortitudef) one of the benevolent provisions of nature for need—but they have always, as a body, shown a good deal of cowardice in this matter. The risks are too fearful. So that really the number is kept down as low as prudence can desire. It would require no Briareus to count on his fingers all that have dabbled in ink during the last century. No fear of usurpation; no danger that the pen will be snatched from strong hands and wielded in defiance, or even in selfdefence. A handful of chimney swallows might as well be suspected of erecting their quills against the eagles—or owls. Swallows! literary ladies are hardly more abundant than dodos.
Now let us ask what is the distinguishing mark of the literary woman of our day. Is it inky fingers—corrugated brows—unkempt locks —unrighteous stockings—towering talk—disdain of dinner—aspirations after garments symbolical of authority—any or all of these? Who pretends anything of the kind? One could almost wish there were some startling peculiarities, even though exhibited by only a few individuals, to break up the uniformity of society. What a treat it would be to see a blue enter a party with the suitable airs, and cross the awful space of carpet which sometimes intervenes between the door and the hostess, with gown pinned up from the mud, or one black slipper and one white one, the unconscious head all the while nodding graciously on either side, secure of the due effect of the entrfe! But alas! no literary lady, since Mrs. Ann Royall, has borne about with her the least outward token of the dreaded power within. Curls, ribbons, bracelets, bouquets, fans—not an item lacking; all oorrect, to the very shoe-tie. Here surely is a title to respect—a claim to the feminine character, though a loss to society. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu did better when she received her English visiters at Venice in a mask and domino, as a reproof to their curiosity.
And as in dress, so in other matters. Whether from the increased facilities of life, or because the world has grown older, and so more cunning and commonplace, there is no telling a bookish woman any more, even in her housekeeping. There are no more cobwebs in literary parlours than elsewhere. The presence of "books that are books" does not necessarily now imply the absence of books which are principally covers and "illustrations." All sorts of unmanageable nnd worse than useless bindings may be found intermixed with plain, serviceable duodecimos, and the blue, and yellow, and gray paper of the Reviews and Magazines. Even an inkstand does not take the place of nick-nacks and pretty lumber, though these generally drive the more suspicious article into a by-comer.
"There is a general notion," says Sydney Smith, "that if you once suffer women to eat of the tree of knowledge, the rest of the family will soon be reduced to the same aerial and unsatisfactory diet." But the children of literary mammas seem to be nearly as well cared for, as if their mothers did not, or could not
read—which is probably in some minds the criterion of a thoroughly admirable wife and mother. They are even found in some cases to entertain the profoundest and most tender affection for her whom society agrees to consider a deluded female. This would seem as if a love of books did not quite extinguish the affections, or the qualities which inspire affection. "Would a mother desert her infant for a quadratic equation V says the satirist just quoted. And it remains to be proved that there is greater complaint of missing buttons, or more neglect of the "stitch in time," in consequence of some use of the pen as well as the thimble, than in houses where the only amusement is dressing, and the only serious employment scolding the servants.
With regard to domestic government, the point on which the sensitive wisdom of the world is most alarmed—fearing lest the staff of authority should be wrested from the grasp of the legal ruler, by hands that were long ago decided to be too weak to wield it even if peaceably accorded—does it not seem as if the want of interest in home affairs, which is charged as a natural fault in the literary lady, should set at rest any dread of her usurping too large a share of direction in home arrangements? Is it the absent-minded, absorbed, wool-gathering, star-gazing dame that will quarrel to have the bacon fried instead of boiled? Will she recall the eyes ever "in fine frenzy rolling" to the dull earth long enough or with interest enough to insist upon new carpets? It seems as if one fear or the other must be unfounded. Either literary women care about domestic matters or they do not. If they do, their employments cannot be objected against as interfering with exclusively feminine duties; if not, surely their husbands need not fear improper interference.
But we have hitherto neglected to inquire what it is that entitles a woman to the appellation of literary; or perhaps we should express the matter better, if we should say, what fastens upon her that imputation. Must she have written a book? Phoebus Apollo! how few then have claims upon a tabouret at thy court! And must the size of the book be taken into account? Then those who dilate most unscrupulously will sit highest. Or will the number of volumes settle precedence? There will, in that case, be little room for any but Mrs. Ellis, Mrs. Gore, and their immediate sisterhood. But to the point. If not a book, will a poem be sufficient? or an essay? or a magazine article? Then more of us are included in the glory or odium of female authorship. Or does writing letters make one literary? In these Californian days it is to be hoped not, lest some of our fair friends should