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Pen and her father supped alone together. The events of half a lifetime seemed to have occurred since the last time they had sat down without guests, That was breakfast the day before. By now every vestige of Pendleton's self-important air was gone. The situation had become too big for him. He was too much overcome even to blame Pen for anything that had happened. As always when things became difficult he depended like a child on Pen's superior strength. He had to blame something so he railed ceaselessly against the evil chance that had brought Counsell to their door.
Seizing a sweater to cover her bare arms and neck, Pen ran out of the room and down the stairs. Aunt Maria sat down muttering and shaking her head.Bourgmont was a man of some education, and well acquainted with these tribes, among whom he had[Pg 361] traded for years. In pursuance of his orders he built a fort, which he named Fort Orlans, and which stood on the Missouri not far above the mouth of Grand River. Having thus accomplished one part of his mission, he addressed himself to the other, and prepared to march for the Comanche villages.
V1 sent forward to propitiate the inhabitants; but they shot bullets through the flag that he carried, and surrounded him, yelling and brandishing their knives. Some were for killing him at once; others for burning him alive. The interposition of a friendly Iroquois saved him; and at length they let him go. Cloron was very uneasy at the reception of his messenger. "I knew," he writes, "the weakness of my party, two thirds of which were young men who had never left home before, and would all have run at the sight of ten Indians. Still, there was nothing for me but to keep on; for I was short of provisions, my canoes were badly damaged, and I had no pitch or bark to mend them. So I embarked again, ready for whatever might happen. I had good officers, and about fifty men who could be trusted."V1 came up with twenty-two more cannon; and at night the first parallel was marked out at a hundred and eighty yards from the rampart. Stumps were grubbed up, fallen trunks shoved aside, and a trench dug, sheltered by fascines, gabions, and a strong abattis.
The men in the blockhouses withdrew under cover of night to Fort Loyal, where the whole force of the English was now gathered along with their frightened families. Portneuf determined to besiege the place in form; and, after burning the village, and collecting tools from the abandoned blockhouses, he opened his trenches in a deep gully within fifty yards of the fort, where his men were completely protected. They worked so well that in three days they had wormed their way close to the palisade; and, covered as they were in their burrows, they lost scarcely a man, while their enemies suffered severely. They now summoned the fort to surrender. Davis asked for a delay of six days, which was refused; and in the morning the fight began again. For a time the fire was sharp and heavy. The English wasted much powder in vain efforts to dislodge the besiegers from their trenches; till at length, seeing a machine loaded with a tar-barrel and other combustibles shoved against their palisades, they asked for a parley. Up to this time, Davis had supposed that his assailants were all Indians, the French being probably 231 dressed and painted like their red allies. "We demanded," he says, "if there were any French among them, and if they would give us quarter. They answered that they were Frenchmen, and that they would give us good quarter. Upon this, we sent out to them again to know from whence they came, and if they would give us good quarter for our men, women, and children, both wounded and sound, and (to demand) that we should have liberty to march to the next English town, and have a guard for our defence and safety; then we would surrender; and also that the governour of the French should hold up his hand and swear by the great and ever living God that the several articles should be performed: all which he did solemnly swear."V2 On the next night the attention of the excellent journalist was otherwise engaged. Vaudreuil tried again to burn the English fleet. "Late last night," writes Knox, under date of the twenty-eighth, "the enemy sent down a most formidable fireraft, which consisted of a parcel of schooners, shallops, and stages chained together. It could not be less than a hundred fathoms in length, and was covered with grenades, old swivels, gun and pistol barrels loaded up to their muzzles, and various other inventions and combustible matters. This seemed to be their last attempt against our fleet, which happily miscarried, as before; for our gallant seamen, with their usual expertness, grappled them before they got down above a third part of the Basin, towed them safe to shore, and left them at anchor, continually repeating, All's well. A remarkable expression from some of these intrepid souls to their comrades on this occasion I must not omit, on account of its singular uncouthness; namely: 'Damme, Jack, didst thee ever take hell in tow before?'"
"Won't you eat?" Ordres du Roy et Dpches des Ministres; MM. de la Jonquire et Bigot, 15 Avril, 1750. See Appendix A. for original.
 Memoir on the Indians between Lake Erie and the Mississippi.Counsell's face lighted up. "You are very kind, but..." He looked at Pen again.