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pieces, lower masts badly wounded, lower rigging all cut to pieces, a small proportion only of the fore-sail left to the fore-yard, all the guns on the quarter-deck and forecastle disabled but two, and filled with wreck, two also on the main deck disabled, and several shot between wind and water, a very great proportion of the crew killed and wounded, and the enemy comparatively in good order, who had now shot ahead, and was about to place himself in a raking position, without being enabled to return the fire, being a perfect wreck and unmanageable log, I deemed it prudent, though a painful extremity, to surrender His Majesty's ship; nor was this dreadful alternative resorted to till every hope of success was removed, even beyond the reach of chance; not till, I trust their Lordships will be aware, every effort had een made against the enemy by myself and my brave officers and men, nor should she have been surrendered whilst a man lived on board, had she been manageable. I am sorry to say our loss is very severe; I find by this day's muster thirty-six killed, three of whom lingered a short time after the battle; thirty-six severely wounded, many of whom cannot recover, and thirty-two slightly wounded, who may all do well; total, one hundred and four.
The true, noble, and animating conduct of my officers, the steady bravery of my crew to the last moments of the battle, must ever render them dear to their country.
My first lieutenant, David Hope, was severely wounded in the head, toward the close of the battle, and taken below, but was soon again on deck, displaying that greatness of mind and exertion which, though it may be equalled, can never be excelled. The third lieutenant, John Bulford, was also wounded, but not obliged to quit his quarters. Second Lieutenant Samuel Mottley and he deserved my highest acknowledgment. The cool and steady conduct of Mr. Walker, the master, was very great during the battle, as also that of Lieutenants Wilson and Magill, of the marines.
On being taken on board the enemy's ship, I ceased to wonder at the result of the battle. The United States is built with the scantling of a seventy-four gun ship, mounting thirty long twenty-four pounders (English ship guns) on her main deck, and twenty-two forty-two pounder carronades, with two long twentyfour pounders on her quarter-deck and forecastle, howitzer guns in her tops, a travelling carronade on her upper deck, with a complement of four hundred and seventy-eight picked men.
The enemy has suffered much in masts, rigging and hull above and below water. Her loss in killed and wounded I am not aware of, but I know a lieutenant and six men have been thrown overboard. (Signed)
JOHN S. CARDEN,
REIGN on, majestic Ville-Marie !
Spread wide thy ample robes of state;
Thou risest from thy girlhood's rest;
Post Captain R.N.
-William Douw Lighthall.
A MAID and TWO SWORDS
CHARLES G. D. ROBERTS
ADEMOISELLE DE LALANNE was in a gay mood that night. She was very happy, and might therefore have been expected to be kind. On the contrary, with a woman's title to the unexpected, she was filled for the moment with a kind of radiant malice; an impulse to be delicately cruel lurked behind the tender scarlet curve of her lips, and the wide innocence of her bewildering eyes hid very successfully a merciless desire to wound the two men who hung upon her words. From time to time, after a coquetry more audacious than usual, she would glance half-repentantly at the closed door, as if looking for yet another visitor. Her mother, Madame de Lalanne, an elderly gentlewoman of Quebec, who had declined into a rustic dulness after years of life among the good country-folk of Acadia, dozed over her knitting beside the ample hearth.
Mademoiselle was dressed in a shortish skirt of the pattern worn by the country girls. The material, however, was not of the coarse wool of the district, but a heavy homespun linen bleached to the tint of cream; the bodice was of the same stuff, with sleeves turned back at the elbows to show arms that were slim almost to thinness, but milk-white and bewitchingly moulded. Over her shoulders was thrown carelessly a shawl of fine silk, black, but no blacker than the silken hair above it. On her small, slim feet, one of which kept restlessly tapping the floor, she wore shoes of fine scarlet leather. These little shoes every girl in Acadia had heard of and
discussed with jealous admiration ; but few indeed, even of the Grand Pré maids, had seen them, for the De Lalannes, mindful of their past seigneurial pride, maintained much of their aloofness amid their changed fortunes.
Beautiful as was her face, broadbrowed, finely chiselled, white with the warm whiteness of ivory, it was above all her eyes that made Marie de Lalanne the wonder of all Acadia. When she turned their dark radiance from time to time full upon her two cavaliers, both felt their hearts jump painfully, and each burned with a fierce impulse to pitch the other from the nearest window.
This tempting window, low and broad, looked out across a snowy slope that sparkled under the full moon. At the foot of the slope, visible from mademoiselle's chair, a close hedge of young fir-trees hid the channel of the Gaspereau River. A sullen grinding roar from the flood-tide achafe among the ice-cakes was heard in the quiet room whenever the light talk flagged. It flagged often, as moments of absentmindedness crossed mademoiselle's whimsical mood; but it never flagged for long, seeing that it was her pleasure to be gay that night. The white moonlight, too, came in through the window and mixed curiously with the leaping red firelight and the pale yellow of the two candles that stood on the brick chimneypiece, and added inextricable complications to the enigmatic lights that flamed softly from mademoiselle's eyes.
The two young men upon whose passions she was playing so recklessly
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had come to Grand Pré village that same evening from opposite directions. Both had made all haste out over the hill to the old farmhouse by the Gaspereau. Captain Barras, journeying on snow-shoes from the French post at Chignecto, had arrived first, flushed with elation at finding mademoiselle alone for Madame de Lalanne was ever too sunk in old dreams to count a personality. Scarcely had he bowed his devoirs over the little restless white hand which mademoiselle was wont to use as mercilessly as her eyes, when there came from the hunting-fields behind La Hêve the spare, sombre-suited, silent figure of Jean Michel Landry de Latour, the proud and impoverished descendant of the De Latours of Port Royal and St. John.
Now, on the coming of Captain Barras, mademoiselle had not been over-gracious. She had been merely ennuyée. It was when De Latour arrived that the caprice of gaiety had seized upon her. What were these unencouraged suitors for, indeed, if not to furnish amusement through the hour of waiting before her? On the instant she was all gracious.
"I trust your absence from Grand Pré has not seemed so long to you as -it has to us, monsieur!" she murmured, as De Latour kissed her finger-tips and shot a glance of dark disdain at Barras.
The captain's mouth grew dry suddenly, as he perceived in this changed demeanour of his hostess an explanation of the chill civility which had greeted his own arrival. But in the next moment those resistless eyes flashed upon him something that thrilled like a caress; and straightway remembering all that he was and his rival was not—rich, handsome, and in high favour with the Governor at Quebec-he returned the new-comer's glance with interest.
When mademoiselle presented the two, De Latour's curt formality was a veiled declaration of war, while the elaborate courtesy of Barras was an exquisite insolence. And mademoiselle was sinfully delighted.
The demeanour of the two men contrasted sharply. Barras, not long from the revels and lightness of Quebec, hung boldly on mademoiselle's glances, and his vanity was facile game to her. He could not take his eyes from her face, except to dart an occasional look of supercilious impatience at the intruder who, as he now felt convinced, alone stood in the way of his conquest. De Latour, on the other hand, while ever seeking the glances which enthralled him, seemed ever unable to endure their light. Whenever he encountered them he would drop his own eyes-and quietly fearless eyes they were in the customary matters of battle and peril-from the too dazzling brilliancy of her face to the daintiness of her scarlet shoes. He seldom troubled to look at his rival; but his reserve managed somehow to express quite unmeasured depths of contempt. He spoke little, even to mademoiselle, but that little always had point. The burden of the conversation was borne by Barras, who had a flow of glittering compliment at command. Mademoiselle de Lalanne had but to direct the game, now with deft turn of phrase, now with a smile, now with a swift look; and with such wicked nicety of skill did she direct it that within the half-hour the air of that peaceful chamber seemed full of swords. At this point, however, she kept things under curb, so that neither man dared in the least degree ruffle the shining surface of civility which she had spread between them. Madame de Lalanne sank so deep into her dreams that her knitting fell unheeded to the floor, and was seized upon by a gratified black kitten. One of the candles on the chimneypiece guttered spitefully and went out. The ghostly patch of moonlight moved across the floor till it touched and paled the scarlet of mademoiselle's shoes. Then, on a sudden, just as she opened her lips for some sally more sweetly envenomed than any that had gone before, the faint sound of a footstep in another part of the house caught her ear. No one else heard it; but it was what she was
"Your appearance is against you, monsieur," he drawled; "but-yes, you are received by Mademoiselle de Lalanne, and therefore I may without dishonour cross swords with you. His Excellency would understand, I am sure." Suddenly dropping his fine manners, he went out brusquely, leaving De Latour to follow. But the iron face of the wood-ranger (for such he was) was untroubled by the insult. He felt only compassion for the ignorance of a Canadian who knew not the precedence of the De Latours.
The two strode in silence, side by side, down the crispy glittering slope, their distorted black shadows dancing grotesquely behind them. When they were within about a hundred paces of the fir-grove Mademoiselle de Lalanne returned to the room they had so hastily forsaken. Her face was now
strides. Throwing a hooded cloak about her and thrusting her feet, red shoes and all, into a pair of white furlined moccasins, mademoiselle sped after him.
The winter air was crisp and clear, and with a fine frosty sting in it. There was no wind whatever. There was no sound but the grinding of the tide among the ice-cakes. The light was almost like full day in the little white glade where the two Frenchmen faced each other with swords at the salute. The next moment the sibilant whisper of the steel began, deadly in its soft reserve; and the easy superciliousness of the smile on Barras's lips changed to a look as stern as his adversary's as he felt the dangerous competence of the wrist opposed to him.
The two fought in their vests, their coats lying upon the snow near by. In skill they appeared to be well matched; and De Latour, who had never before met any one at all his equal in fence, began to conceive an unwilling respect for the coxcomb captain. In fact, he had just, by the merest hair-breadth, escaped a scratch; when, from the edge of the grove, a voice of sharp authority rang out "Halt!" and Captain Jack's tall figure appeared suddenly beside them.
With instant and instinctive obedience both men sprang back and dropped their points; then, in the next second, both turned indignantly upon the intruder.
"Who are you, sir?" demanded De Latour curtly.
"And by what right, if I may ask, do you interfere in our pastime?" inquired Barras.
Captain Jack who was more embarrassed than he would have cared to show, chose to answer the latter question.
"By no right, gentlemen," he replied heartily; "and I beg to apologise in the fullest manner I know, too. I owe you satisfaction for my abruptness, and of course I am quite ready to afford it to you both if you demand it. But I beg you rather to accept my apology."
"We can discuss that later on," said De Latour in tones of ice; "and meanwhile, Captain Barras, with your consent, we will resume."
But before the blades could cross again the Englishman steped forward sharply, his own sword half-drawn.
"Really, gentlemen," he began, in a voice of mastery, "I must insist that you stop fighting. No more of it, I say!" and his blood began to get hot. Then he remembered that he would certainly not be fulfilling Marie's wishes if he should himself kill one, or perhaps both, of these impetuous and infatuated Frenchmen; and the thought gave him pause. He considered the situation very awkward altogether.
Both men faced him. "This is astonishing, truly," exclaimed Barras, with a biting sneer. "I think we had better have an explanation before we go on with our own affair."
But now Jack Moleby had an inspiration. He would try diplomacy. Replacing his sword, and relapsing into his customary large good-humour, he smiled genially upon the scowling faces.
"You see, gentlemen, I hated to disturb you, but had to do as I was commanded. Mademoiselle de Lalanne sent me with positive orders to stop the fight at any cost. In my stupidity I thought I might have to fight you both, in order to obey her. But I should have known, as soon as I saw the courtly gentlemen you were, that my effective weapon would be the expression of her wishes. She simply implores you, if her happiness is of any concern to you, that you will do each other no injury. She beseeches you to promise that you will put your quarrel, whatever it may be, for ever by; without which promise she declares that she will live in ceaseless anxiety. I think, gentlemen, from my observation of her solicitude in this matter, that one or the other of you must be honoured by a very distinguished place in her regard."
Each, on hearing these sagacious words, conceived himself to be the one so honoured. Into De Latour's cold eyes came a gleam of elation.