Port Royal, Acadia, November 1661
Olivier smiled at the squawking sea birds overhead. He imagined that they called for the sun to appear. A fine mist soaked into his hair and shoulders as he walked across the wharf, made of huge logs lashed together and smoothed by years of heavy use. The masts and rigging of the ship tied to the wharf reflected in the black water puddles.
Olivier traveled with his friend, Joe Gaudet, who was also 18 years old and had a head of curly hair stuffed under a red toque. They were headed to work at a logging camp near Chignecto and had paid for passage on a fishing boat with four beaver pelts, negotiated down from five when they agreed to help out with the fishing on the way. Olivier hated to pay for transportation, but the overland journey would have taken a month at least. As it was, their captain trolled along the southern coast of the Bay of Fundy and the journey took 12 days.
When they arrived at the Chignecto Basin, they spent the night in a lean-to near the sawmill. The next morning, they bought a patched-up native canoe and paddled up the chocolate-colored Petitcodiac River. The ice near the banks of the river threatened to rip through the birch bark canoe, forcing them to navigate in the middle.
“Another two weeks the river will be frozen solid,” Joe said.
“You sure it’s not three weeks?” Olivier sniped. Joe was born in Acadia and Olivier had arrived from France just six months ago, so Joe felt it was his duty to educate his new friend in all things Acadian. Sometimes it got on Olivier’s nerves.
They paddled all day before they ran out of river, hid the canoe, and tramped through the woods to Michaud’s lumber camp, a ramshackle shanty recently erected in a clearing near the river. They met three other new arrivals and reported for work. Michaud had a fat head and no neck. The men called him Pasdecou, meaning “no neck”, but not to his face.
“What’s your name, boy?” Pasdecou looked up.
“Olivier Daigre. “
“Merde, you look green as hell, Daigre, but I need every hand I can get,” Pasdecou handed Olivier a piece of paper. “Make your mark here. You start in the morning. Drop your gear off in the shanty, eat and sleep well tonight, because tomorrow I work your ass off.”
The logger’s shanty included a cookhouse at one end and an open space where the men ate their meals and slept at night. At the south end of the shanty, the cook, Pinett, and his helper, Pascapable, meaning “not capable”, cooked supper. A tree had dropped onto Pascapable’s foot the previous season and smashed his ankle. He had been a good cutter, but he needed a crutch to walk now, hence his new name.
Pinett and Pascapable served boiled beef, fried cornmeal mush, yellow-eyed beans, and bread. The men slept on the dirt floor, lined up next to each other, and covered with a communal fur blanket that was originally sewn together to wrap a winter wikuom. The stinking, louse-infested men slept under it together to maximize body heat. Olivier shared a rolled-up fox pelt for a pillow with Joe while he tried to remember every detail of his first time with Louise Boudrot.
Madame Boudrot leaned across the table toward Olivier and his eyes were drawn to the space between her breasts where the buttons of her undershirt had come undone. “Come upstairs with me tonight.” She took his hand.
He had difficulty breathing. His face felt hot and he could feel his pulse throb in his neck. “What about Mathieu?” he whispered.
“Oh! He won’t be home until morning.”
She stood and led him upstairs. Her double bed was covered in red cloth, but the rest of the room was for her work—a large cutting and sewing table on the opposite wall, cluttered with pieces of material and unfinished ladies’ undergarments.
She sat on the bed and patted the space next to herself. He sat down. She took his hand, brought it to her mouth, and kissed his open palm. She placed his hand on her breast, reached to his chin, turned his face and kissed him on the mouth. Her lips parted slightly and she probed his lips with her tongue.
When Olivier dreamed of making love with a woman for the first time, as he had many times, he envisioned himself with a girl even more unpracticed than himself. He wasn’t prepared for how anxious he felt being led. While she removed his clothes, he wondered how she saw him. Was he just a plaything? When she stood and undressed in front of him, he wondered how many men had seen her naked. When she lay beside him, traced her fingertips over his body and stroked his cock, he feared he would not please her. When she probed inside his ear with her tongue, he stopped thinking. He let himself go. She led him to be gentle at the beginning and forceful when passion raged through them. They found joy together. Afterwards, he had a delicious feeling of wellbeing. His skin seemed more sensitive to the friction of the bedclothes. This is heaven, he thought. I don’t want to live without it.
Before first light, Pinett woke the men to a breakfast of salt pork and a cup of boiled tea. They formed a procession out to the cut. The lead man carried a lantern followed by six cutters who each carried two sharpened axes. It was still too dark to work when they got to the cut so they stood around and waited for first light. Pasdecou assigned the men and Joe went with the cutters. Pasdecou led Olivier over to a, young man standing among felled trees.
“This is Elphege.” Pasdecou pointed to a short native man who winked at Olivier. “He’s a good limber. Do what he says.”
Elphege spoke in a surprising melodious voice. “Done any limbing before?”
“Yes, I have.”
“If you was to limb a tree like this one right here, where would you start?”
“I would start from the bottom, limb up the tree, and then buck it to length.”
“Well. You limbed that tree real nice with your mouth, now let’s see you do it with your axe,” Elphege said. “You take that one. I’ll take this one.”
They worked next to each other all day as Olivier’s admiration for Elplege grew. He possessed catlike balance and leaping ability as well as strength that belied his small size. He out-produced Olivier by half even though Olivier knew that he had put in a good days work. I don’t know about tomorrow, though. His palms bled where the skin had completely worn away.
“You can’t work for a few days,” Joe said. “Those hands need to heal before they get worse.”
Olivier was deflated. I’m green all right. I pulled up lame after my first day.
They walked back to the shanty in near darkness for more of Pinett’s cuisine.
In the camp, the men became a brotherhood. They took pride in the risky work they did and it knitted them together. In the evenings the men usually sat by the fire to smoke, file their axe blades and stare into the flames for hours. The first night with a new crew, everyone was cautious and waited for clues. Who brought a fiddle? Who was the storyteller? Who was the obnoxious fool? What rivers had the others worked?
Elplege turned out to be the singer. Olivier and Joe looked at each other, their jaws slack in amazement. He had a glorious voice. He taught them a new song, Madame Plourde, which featured a cuckold husband and a randy cousin and involved an unintentional exchange of undergarments. Everybody joined in on the chorus.
“The half-breed must have got his voice from his squaw mother.” The challenge came from René, one of the Quebec cutters, a bully who got drunk every night and liked to start trouble. “Because he’s got a voice like a woman.”
Elphege threw his rum crock at René and launched himself at him like a wildcat. He had the advantage of surprise. He landed on top of René, and pummeled his face. One of René’s buddies jumped on Elphege’s back. Olivier tried to pull the second man off of Elphege, but was unable to pry him off with his damaged hands so he punched him in the ear and the man went slack and rolled off. When another man stood, Joe blocked his path and pushed him back.
Elphege and René were standing now. René outweighed Elphege by 50 pounds, was stronger, and had a longer reach, but Elphege was much quicker. He exhausted the big man by feinting and dodging René’s wild swings. René bent forward with his hands on his knees to rest a moment and Elphege kicked him in the groin. René dropped to his knees and signaled that he was done for the night.
“Thank you for backing me up,” Elphege said to Olivier and Joe after the fight. “I don’t like to be called a half-breed. Some people say I have a chip on my shoulder, but I won’t stand to be disrespected. I’m Métis, not half-breed.”
They refilled their cups and sat by the fire.
“My father was a fisherman from Sainte-Malo,” Elphege said. “He was in Acadia for only one season. My mother was Mi’kmaq and raised me with her people on the Nipisiguit River.”
“Is that where you live? Olivier asked.
“No. Since my mother passed, I have no duty or responsibility to anyone else. I spend most of my pay in shanty bars and on the whores that follow the logging camps.”
“Do you work in the off-season?"
“Sometimes I work at a sawmill, but I don’t like it. Usually I just bum around until someone hires me for the next season. It’s a life that suits me. I have nothing to lose but my life and I feel invincible, especially with you two to back me up. You’re good with your fists, Olivier. Where did you pick up the fighting skills?”
“My stepbrothers bullied me whenever they got the chance.” Olivier raised his fists and grinned. “But I learned to fight and they left me alone.” He took out his pipe, repacked it, and lit it with a twig from the fire.
“I was born in Poitou in France. My father worked a few arpents of worthless land near the village of Aigre. It was aptly named, a land of sour soil and broken dreams. I was often hungry. When I was ten years old, my father died suddenly and soon after, my mother married another man who had three sons. When I was twelve, I was sent to live with my mother’s brother. Uncle Marc worked me hard, but he was fair and I had enough to eat. About two years ago, he had an accident with an axe and his leg turned black. When he died, I got the priest and we buried him. After a few days, I walked away from all that.”
“How did you come to Acadia?” Elphege asked.
“Last April, I worked for tips on the docks of La Rochelle. I bent to pick up some boards and a scrap of leather jammed down between stacks of lumber caught my eye. I moved a board and pulled out a strange looking leather boot. The top and bottom parts were stitched together with leather strips. It was crude but well made. The top was soft, probably deerskin. The bottom was thick and hard. Perhaps a New World savage wore this, I thought. I stuffed the shoe in the small of my back, secured it under my belt, and went back to work. That was the first time I even thought of the New World.”
“You earned enough for passage?”
“No. Mathieu Martin of Port Royal sponsored me. I’m an apprentice in his weaving business.”
“What are you doing here?”
“Joe talked me into it. Said I could earn hard money and learn to work like a man.”
“Ha, ha, work like a beast is more like it.”
On Sunday, most of the loggers from Michaud’s camp, walked to another cut on a nearby tributary where a service camp was set up near a working sawmill. Two native men tapped rum from a ten-gallon cask into seven-ounce crocks. They worked in a shanty built from mill scraps. A huge campfire fed with trimmings and waste from the sawmill separated the rum traders from the whoremasters who had two wikuoms where they offered girls for two crocks of rum.
Olivier, Joe, and Elphege each bought several crocks of rum, some to drink now, some for the whores and some for later. Olivier headed over to the wikuoms and had a look at the women. There were two from which to choose. He liked the girl with a pretty face who wore a string of colored beads around the crown of her head. She smiled at him and opened her robe to show her breasts.
Olivier handed two crocks of rum to her man and followed her into the wikuom. There was a fire in the center, the ground inside covered with a layer of spruce branches A filthy moosehide lay to one side, and a low stool sat near the fire. She removed her robe while he unbuttoned his breeches, but then she turned her back, bent over, supported herself with her hands on the stool, arched her back, and pushed her butt up. Olivier wanted to hold her in his arms first, so he took her arm and tried to get her to face him. She resisted so he stopped trying, made himself ready, and humped her like a dog. He found satisfaction but little joy. Overall, the exchange left him disappointed.
He returned to his friends and said, “She wouldn’t face me.”
“The whores all do it from behind,” Elphege said.
“Why is that?” Olivier asked.
“She’s doesn’t do this for fun,” Elphege said. “She works for a man, usually her father or older brother. She is duty-bound to obey him. But she dreams of leaving the whoring life and marrying, having children. So she saves her heart for her future husband.”
Olivier stared into the fire while he sipped rum from a crock. He was ashamed that he had thought only of his own pleasure. He made up a story for her, in which a prince from another land fell in love with her and took her away to live with him and raise many children. Olivier offered it to her as an apology and a prayer of hope.
On the way back to Michaud’s logging camp, Olivier turned to Joe and Elphege and asked, “Did you hear that?”
“Sounds like gunshots,” Joe said. “A lot of gunshots.”
“Probably some men practice shooting.” Elphege said. “Too many shots for hunters.”
“Let’s go see what it is,” Olivier said.
Elphege took the lead, using a frozen brook for a path, and found the camp in a few minutes. They heard shouting in English and stopped in their tracks. They crawled on their bellies to get closer to the clearing so they could see what was happening without being detected.
English troopers ran amok in the Mi’kmaw village. Most acted as if they were drunk. Two of them set a wikuom on fire and waited for the occupants to come out. When the wikuom was engulfed in flames, a terrified Mi’kmaw woman holding an infant stumbled out followed by two screaming children, one a young girl with her hair on fire. One soldier held the mother while another snatched the baby and stabbed the infant through and through with his bayonet. The mother struck the trooper knocking off his hat to expose a shock of red hair before he sliced across her neck. She tried to protect her second child while blood spurted out of the severed artery.
A surge of nausea rose from Olivier’s gut and he retched into the snow. Elphege made a sound like a wounded animal, jumped to his feet, and lunged toward the troopers before Joe tackled him to the ground and lay on top of him.
“The drunken bastards enjoyed killing women and children,” Olivier said. “Study their faces boys. We’ll find them and make them pay.”
The soldiers took their time going through the wikuoms. They looted furs, woodcarvings, and bow and arrows. A corporal picked up a shiny black dagger from the hand of a naked dead man painted red.
Blood covered the bodies of the dead and stood on the frozen ground in black puddles. Olivier felt as though he was paralyzed and unable to turn away from the gruesome scene. He hid his tears from his friends.
It was midafternoon before the English troops finally left. Olivier, Joe, and Elphege dragged all of the bodies into two of the remaining wikuoms.
“The bodies will freeze solid overnight and stay that way for a good while,” Joe said. “We need to seal up these wikuoms tight to keep animals from eating at them.”
Elphege said a prayer for the dead, but it wasn’t enough. “There should be other rites for the dead, rites all day long, spoken by the old grandmothers and clan matrons,” he said. He paced back and forth waving his arms. “There should be many clan members and old friends to gather and speak of the heroic deeds of the loved ones who left this world today.”
“We have to go,” Joe said. “I would rather go back to Michaud’s camp in the dark than sleep here tonight.”
“Me too. There are many ghosts here,” Elphege said.
“What do you mean?” Olivier asked.
“The way they died,” Elphege said. “Their spirits will wander.”
“People who know them will bury the bodies later,” Joe said.
“Their people won’t know what happened here,” Olivier said. “We have to leave a sign.”
Elphege used a charred stick and a sheet of birch bark to draw a picture depicting the massacre. He drew the English soldiers as stick figures that encircled the perimeter and fired muskets. He placed a triangle on the head of each shooter to identify them as English. The Mi’kmaw stick figures were lying dead.
“They need to know how to find us,” Olivier said. “So that we can tell them the story of what happened here.”
Elphege chose a second piece of bark and drew a trail from the village to a stick figure swinging an axe at a tree with a river beside it. An arrow over the river pointed east. He placed the second map near the original inside one of the wikuoms with the dead and resealed the flap. He led his Acadian friends east with a helpful moon and found Michaud’s camp in about two hours. It was quiet. Most everybody sat around the fire smoking. Olivier, Joe, and Elphege startled them when they arrived. Olivier warmed himself near the fire as everyone gathered. Olivier told the story of the Le Cran Massacre for the first time.
Mathieu Martin left his home in Port Royal for a dinner meeting at Fort Anne. He walked past Saint-Jean Baptiste Parish Church, recently rebuilt of raw logs and still only half whitewashed. A wooden cross about 30 feet tall was stuck in the ground near it. A whitewashed fence enclosed the church, a one-room rectory, and a cemetery. The former church was burned to the ground during the Sedgwick attack four years earlier.
A pair of English soldiers stood guard at the gate of the fort. They wore black tri-cornered hats, long-tailed blue coats, and white vests, breeches and stockings. They held loaded muskets with fixed bayonets. Another trooper escorted him to Governor House within the fort.
Captain Richard Fuller was Governor Temple’s second in command in Acadia and Commander of Fort Anne at Port Royal. The English officer was short and lean and moved with a graceful stride. He had a long narrow face, thin lips and a cleft chin. Captain Fuller greeted his guest, Mathieu Martin, the de-facto Acadian ambassador, since he was the only one who could speak English.
Seven years earlier, the English warlord, Sedgwick, illegally seized all three of the Acadian forts including Fort Anne. While the Royal French government argued for redress in the international courts Massachusetts militias occupied Acadian forts. Their mission was to protect the trading post at Fort Anne so they seldom left the fort. Since the Acadian population of about 100 families was dispersed along the Annapolis Rover, the occupying force was hardly noticed outside of Port Royal.
The two of them met in the dining room of Governor House within Fort Anne. It was a large room with a stone hearth and squared log walls plastered over and painted a pale yellow. Persian rugs decorated the polished pine floor. The dining room table was a French import that could seat 20 people, set for two of them opposite each other. The ladder-back pine chairs didn’t fit the room.
“Mathieu, I don’t know if I can forgive you for making me wait two weeks to get news of your trip to France,” Fuller said with a wink. “Please start with your time in Paris. What do they wear now? What’s the latest?” Richard Fuller was as vain as Mathieu and he enjoyed Mathieu’s detailed descriptions of fashion and fabrics in the salons of Paris. Fuller was also homosexual. They recognized each other at their first meeting even though nobody else knew for sure. They were discreet because sodomy was a capital offense in both England and France. They enjoyed being able to express themselves openly in each other’s company. They shared good food and conversation, which tended to be flirty, but tonight Fuller had something else on his mind.
“Indians raided an English settlement near Fort Pentagouet last Thursday night,” Fuller said. “They terrorized the residents, looted several homes, and disappeared into the forest with 12 captives.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Mathieu said. “Were they Iroquois?”
“Mi’kmaq? I find that hard to believe,” Mathieu said. “Pentagouet is a long way from Mi’kmaw territory.”
“Penobscot Indians saw the raiders and said they were Mi’kmaq,” Fuller said.
“I’m stunned,” Mathieu said.
“Governor Temple was in Boston at the time of the raid,” Fuller said. “When he arrived at Penobscot Bay and discovered that the raid was carried out within shouting distance of Fort Pentagouet, he flew into a rage and sacked the commander.”
“But surely the governor doesn’t blame you,” Mathieu said.
“Unfortunately, it has become my problem because the raiders were Mi’kmaq and the captives will probably be headed this way.”
“They could be headed to Quebec,” Mathieu said. “They could sell their captives there.”
“We think the captives were taken for ransom,” Fuller said. “The group includes one important captive, Alan Bradley, the 20 year old son of George Bradley, a timber baron and personal friend of Governor Temple.”
Mathieu put his palms together as if in prayer. “Give me a few days to find out what I can about this.”
“Yes,” Fuller said. “There’s nothing I can do right now anyway. How long do you think it would take them to walk through the woods from Penobscot Bay to the Bay of Fundy?”
“I don’t know,” Mathieu said. “It’s over two-hundred miles overland in the middle of winter. Weeks, certainly. I’ll get better intelligence and I’ll let you know what I find.”
“Mark my words, Mathieu. I will not lose my command over this incident. I must resolve it quickly.”
“I’ll help any way I can.” Mathieu cut off a piece of the roast pork and trimmed the fat. “I see you got some new troops recently.”
“Yes. I just got a new batch of twenty thugs, adventurers, and drunks. It will take time to make them into Rangers.”
Mathieu thought he and Fuller were similar in their motivation since both men seemed primarily interested in their careers. For Fuller, that meant increasing profits from the fur trade on the Acadian Peninsula. For Martin, it meant gaining more access to Boston markets.
“I heard that Massachusetts annexed Maine last month,” Mathieu said. “They can’t do that. Acadia includes everything west of the Kennebec River. It’s been that way for 50 years.”
“I don’t want to argue politics. I don’t give a damn about politics. I care about the fur trade and it’s not going well. I’m disappointed by the low volume this season,” Fuller said. “Where are all the traders?”
“Your people at Fort Saint-John are to blame for disrupting the fur market this season. The Maliseet people on the Saint John River refused to trade with the English because of the three Maliseet men who were murdered at the fort there.”
“They were executed for thievery, I believe,” Fuller said.
“In any case, the Maliseet boycotted their only source of rum. Now, they trade with the Mi’kmaq for rum. Consequently, the value of rum is high and the value of pelts has plummeted by about one third. Everybody with skins is sitting on them while values are low.”
“I see,” Fuller said, but he didn’t see a thing. He had lost the line of reasoning early on. He didn’t like things complicated.
“And the terms for trade with Boston?” Mathieu asked.
“Trade with Boston is open as long as the cargo is inspected here in Port Royal and the export tax is paid before leaving.” Fuller had unilaterally instituted a five percent export fee, paid directly to him, on everything shipped out of Port Royal.
“I’d like your opinion about something else.” Mathieu took a sip of good French wine. “I have a partnership interest in a sawmill at Chignecto. Starting next summer, I would like to ship lumber directly to Boston from there and pay you the tax once the lumber is sold. Would that be agreeable?”
“If you pay half the tax on departure, I will accommodate your request on an exceptional basis.”
The main course dishes were cleared and they lit their pipes for a smoke before they continued. Fuller exhaled a small cloud of tobacco smoke and said, “Would you like to see my treasure?” He walked over to a walnut armoire, unlocked, and opened it. The shelves were covered with ancient native artifacts—flint arrowheads, stone carvings, and obsidian pendants.
“It’s a pastime that is both satisfying and profitable.” Fuller picked up a black stone, carved in the shape of a bird. “Have a look at this birdstone carved from obsidian. It’s thought to be older than Christ.” He handed the carving to Olivier.
The smooth volcanic glass felt cool in his hand.
“It’s worth over 500 pounds sterling,” Fuller said.
“Where did you get it? Olivier asked.
“Indian burial grounds.”
Mathieu showed no reaction, but hoped that Fuller didn’t intend raiding Mi’kmaw burial grounds for artifacts.
“I’m anxious to start searching around here, Fuller said. “It’s rumored the Mi’kmaq have some priceless obsidian artifacts.”
Fuller called for desert to be served and locked up his treasure. After the bread pudding was served, Fuller dismissed the servant and when he was alone with Mathieu, he said, “Shall we go upstairs for some cognac?”
Mathieu placed his hand on Fuller’s hand and said, “I’d like that very much.”
Four weeks earlier
Shortly after midnight on a moonless night, an Indian raiding party struck a tiny English settlement near Penobscot Bay in Maine. They simultaneously attacked each of the half-dozen homes recently built near Fort Pentagouet.
Alan Bradley, who was at home on vacation from Harvard College, awoke to the crack of splintering wood when the Indians chopped through the door to his father’s house with axes. He crawled across the upper floor to the staircase overlooking the main room. The savages looked like wild animals dressed as they were in heavy fur robes, their faces painted red. In two steps, one of them crossed the room and clubbed his father on the head dropping him uncomscious to the floor. Mum screamed and knelt on the floor beside Father.
Two savages rushed upstairs, grabbed Alan, and dragged him downstairs. The Indians smelled of wood smoke. Father lay unconscious. His head bled where he was hit and his fat belly lay exposed. He would be so embarrassed to seen like this, Alan thought. Mum sobbed, but she looked unharmed. Alan cried and struggled to help his parents, but his captor held him back with a powerful grip on his bicep and attached a leather strap around Alan’s neck. He directed Alan to put on his father’s coat and led him outside by the neck strap.
Alan thought about the circumstances that had placed him in the wrong place at the wrong time. His parents had moved from Boston to Penobscot Bay on the eastern frontier of the Massachusetts territory while he was at school in Boston. His father, George Bradley, was in the timber business. He supplied mast pines to the English Navy and needed to be closer to his work. He had a fine home built near the English-occupied fort that was under the command of Thomas Temple, a close friend.
Alan presumed the leader to be a tall Indian with deep voice who directed the others. He appeared to be telling them to hurry as they rounded up the captives—men, women, boys, and girls of various ages and led them away from the village, single file. Alan was terrified. He breathed in short gasps and trembled, but his brain was surprisingly calm. He figured he would be held for ransom, so his captors would try to keep him alive. His job was simply to survive.
The Indians pulled off the raid under the noses of the English soldiers without firing a single shot. Throughout the night and well into the next day, the Indians pushed the column of captives without mercy because they left a trail anyone could follow. It snowed all night of the second day and since they could no longer be followed, they slowed the pace of the march on the third day. They walked ahead of the captives on snowshoes to pack the trail. They headed north along the river, then east into the woods where they picked up a path that led through an area of several small lakes. The Indians stopped at a hidden cache of provisions that included dogs and toboggans. They circled around an old deadfall where a tremendous wind had felled acres of trees, all pointing southeast, as if a giant foot laid them that way.
Alan found a notebook and a graphite pencil in the inner pocket of his jacket. His father had used it to keep notes on timber shipments. On 4 January 1662, Alan Bradley wrote, Bill Thornwood was murdered today. The savages grew annoyed with his frequent demands for rest and food and one of them slipped behind him and delivered a swift hatchet blow to the back of Thornwood’s head. The narrow axe cracked through his skull and dove deep. It was horrifying to watch, but I suppose death came so quickly that there was very little pain for Thornwood.
Two days later he wrote: Mrs. Plummer, Mum’s friend and neighbor, died today. I was walking just ahead of her toward the rear of the march. She was a heavy woman with a bad knee so she fell behind frequently. She cried for her husband, Mortimer, until the Indians allowed him to walk beside her. I could hear what they were saying, “Mortimer, you must prepare yourself,” she said. “For I fear that we will part soon.” Mr. Plummer embraced her and they stood on the trail and sobbed in each other’s arms until an Indian pulled him away. They had time for a quick prayer together before they parted for the last time. “God give us the strength to do thy will.” Mrs. Plummer walked just a short distance farther then stumbled off the trail and sat on a fallen pine. Two Indians stayed with her as the rest of the column pulled away. Later the two Indians returned without Mrs. Plummer.
On the fourth day, Margaret, who was taken with her five-year-old daughter, lost her daughter. After that, Margaret refused to eat and didn’t have the strength to keep up. The Indians let her fall behind. I thought that was the last we would see of her, but this evening she showed up half dead at our fire. She took the food the Indians offered her and ate it.