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“ The distance, continued the stranger, from the fort to the place where the commandant .moored his canoe was trifling, and quickly passed Marguerite and Louis flew along the narrow foot path, reached the shore, and were in the arms of Mecumeh and his fierce companions. Entreaties and resistance were alike vain. Resistance was made, with a manly spirit, by young Louis, who drew a knife from the girdle of one of the Indians, and atteinpted to plunge it into the bosom of Mecumeh, who was roughly binding his wampum belt over Marguerite's mouth, to deaden the sound of her screams. The uncle wrested the knife from him, and smiled proudly on him, as if he recognised in the bravo boy a scion from his own stock.
“ The Indians had two canoes ; Marguerite was conveyed to one, Louis to the other-and both canoes were rowed into the Oswegatchie, and up the stream as fast as it was possible to impel them against the current of the river.
“ Not a word nor cry escaped the boy: he seemed intent on some purpose, and when the canoe approached near the shore, he took off a miliiary cap he wore, and threw it so skilfully that it lodged, where he meant it should, on the branch of a tree which projected over the water. There was a long white feather in the cap. The Indians had observed the boy's movement—they held up their oars for a moment, and seemed to consult whether they should return and remove the cap; but after a moment, they again dashed their oars in the water, and proceeded forward. They continued rowing for a few miles, and then landed; hid their canoes behind soi ne trees on the river's bank, and plunged into the woods with their prisoners. It seems to have been their intention to have returned to their canoes in the morning, and they had not proceeded far from the shore, when they kindled a fire, and prepared some food, and offered a share of it to Marguerite and Louis. Poor Marguerite, as you may suppose, had no mind to eat; but Louis, saith tradition, ate as heartily as if he had been safe within the walls of the fort. After the supper, the Indians stretched themselves before the fire, but not till they had taken the precaution to bind Marguerite to a tree, and to compel Louis to lie down in the arms of his uncle Mecumeh. Neither of the prisoners, as you may imagine, closed their eyes. Louis kept his fixed on his mother.
She sat upright beside an oak tree; the cord was fastened around her waist, and bound around the tree, which had been blasted by lightning; the moon poured its beams through the naked branches upon her face, convulsed with the agony of despair and fear. With one hand she held a crucifix to her lips; the other was on her rosary. The sight of his mother in such a situation, stirred up daring thoughts in the bosom of the heroic boy-but he lay powerless in his uncle's naked brawny arms. He tried to disengage himself, but at the slightest Inovement, Mecumeh, though still sleeping, seemed conscious, and strained him closer to him. At last the strong sleep, that in the depth of the night steeps the senses in utter forgetfulness, overpowered hiin-his arms relaxed their hold, and dropped beside him, and left Louis free.
“ He rose cautiously, looked for one instant on the Indians, and assured himself they all slept profoundly. He then possessed himself of Mecumeh's knife, which lay at his feet, and severed the cord that bound his mother to the tree. Neither of them spoke a word—but with the least possible sound they resumed the way by which they had come from the
shore. Louis in the confidence, and Marguerite with the faint hope, of reaching it before they were overtaken.
“ You may imagine how often the poor mother, timid as a fawn, was startled by the evening breeze stirring the leaves ; but the boy bounded forward as if there were neither sear nor danger in the world.
“They had nearly attained the margin of the river, where Louis meant to launch one of the canoes and drop down the current, when the Indian yell resounding through the woods, struck on their ears. They were inissed, pursued, and escape was impossible. Marguerite, panic-struck, sunk to the ground. Nothing could check the career of Louis. On--on, mother, he cried, to the shore-to the shore.' She rose and instinctively followed her boy. The sound of pursuit came nearer and nearer. They reached the shore, and there beheld three canoes coming swiftly up the river. Animated with hope, Louis screamed the watch word of the garrison, and was answered by his father's voice.
“The possibility of escape, and the certain approach of her husband, infused new life into Marguerite. Your father cannot see us,' she said,
as we stand here in the shade of the trees; hide yourself in that thicket; I will plunge into the water.' Louis crouched under the bushes, and was completely hidden by an overhanging grape-vine, while his mother advanced a few steps into the water and stood erect, where she could be distinctly seen. A shout from the canoes apprised her that she was recognised; and at the same moment, the Indians, who had now reached the shore, rent the air with their cries of rage and defiance. They stood for a moment, as if deliberating what next to do; Mecumeh maintained an undaunted and resolved air—but with his followers the aspect of armed men, and a force thrice their number, had its usual effect. They fled. He looked after them, cried shame!' and then, with a desperate yell, leaped into the water, and stood beside Marguerite. The canoes were now within a few yards. He put his knife to her bosom—"The daughter of Tecumseh,' he said, should have died by the judgment of our warriors, but now by her brother's hand must she perish :' and he drew back his arm to give vigor to the fatal stroke, when an arrow pierced his own breast, and he fell insensible at his sister's side. A moment after Marguerite was in the arms of her husband, and Louis, with his bow unstrung, bounded from the shore, and was received in his father's canoe ; and the wild shores rung with the acclamations of the soldiers, while his father's tears of pride and joy were poured like rain upon his cheek.
“The stranger paused, and Edward breathed one long breath, expressive of the interest with which he had listened to the tale; and then said, • You have not told us, sir, how the commandant was so fortunate as to pursue in the right direction.'
“ He returned soon after Marguerite's departure, and of course was at no loss to determine that she had been taken in the toils of her brother. He explored the mouth of the Oswegatchie, thinking it possible that the savages might have left their canoes moored there, and taken to the land. Louis's cap and feather caught his eye, and furnished him a clue. You have now my whole story, concluded the stranger; and though I cannot vouch for its accuracy, many similar circumstances must have occurred, while this country was a wilderness, and my tradition is at least sup. ported by probability."
ART. V.-Lionel Lincoln, or the Leaguer of Boston. By the
Author of the Pioneers, Pilot, fc. New-York: 1825.
Charles Wiley. 2 vols. pp. 533. The principal aims of criticism in the journals that come to us from abroad, appear to be, to anticipate and to modify general opinion in relation to the works and the subjects discussed in them. They always aspire to at least the judicial, and almost always to the legislative function in literature. It is not enough for the Aristarchuses of these lettered aristocracies to apply sometimes a mistaken, sometimes a supposed, and sometimes a distorted rule; but in defiance of the principles of all sound governments, in the republic of which the government should be the soundest, they create the very code that they administer, and judge the applicant for literary justice, by a system of ex post facto laws, undiscoverable through any human ingenuity by the individual whose practice they should have directed. It is not surprising, in this state of things, that great varieties and inconsistencies should be found in the
progress of the same work ; that caprice should contradict caprice, and that one writer's partialities, antipathies, and prejudices should counteract another's; that judgments previously pronounced should be forgotten, when new ones on the same subject are to be declared, or when the same author
presents himself at successive periods before the same tribunal ;or that even the safe policy of criticism should change, as the minor becomes a man, or as the loyal colony passes through rebellion and independence to rivalry and triumph. Indeed, as long as this assumption is maintained, instances will never be wanting, like those of Lord Byron and of America, of these arbiters of literary destiny beginning in “ Ercles' vein," and ending with “roaring you as gently as any sucking dove."
A wiser, and certainly a less dangerous course, would be, for a body of critics, however originally established, whether autoclete or regularly nominated and elected, to consider themselves, in the exercise of their public duties, as the representatives of the reading community,—to regard the sentiments expressed by thinking men, where the majority is overwhelming, (particularly in all matters of taste, in which opinions incessantly and innocently clash,) almost as the instructions of constituents,-and where the division of parties is obvious and decided, at least to state the conflicting opinions, let their own be what they may. We would not, by this, be understood as suggesting the idea of relinquishing our claim to the casting vote in those innumerable
questions of criticism where the equities of taste are equal, or even of compromising our cathedretical rights, on any occasion which may require their vindication. Far from us be so tame a concession of our prerogative, and so cowardly a desertion of our duty; especially while our country, which bids fair to furnish the chief materials for their exercise, is yet in the earliest stage of its literary boyhood, the very age for castigation. Our object is simply to allude to the advantages which the critic may derive from the consultation of public opinion, and to profess our respect for that tribunal, which, after all, is the one from which must eventually emanate, every benefit that the author can anticipate, and all the severities from which he has occasion to shrink.
The book of which the title is at the head of this article, has been in the hands, probably, of all who are our readers, and certainly of thousands who are not so, long enough for a full and fair discussion of its excellencies and defects to have taken place, and to have allowed the tumult of spirits which attends the early perusal of a work expected with so much impatience, to subside into a calm appreciation of its merits. It is obvious, then, that'our remarks can do little to affect opinions in relation to it, which, independently of them, must have been already formed. We cannot, however, resign our prescriptive right to pronounce our judgment in a case so peculiarly within our province; nor are we willing to deny ourselves the honest triumph of welcoming a production which not only is, but what is no less important to us as Americans, is allowed abroad to be, a work of undoubted genius. Unquestionable, however, as are its claims to be so considered, perhaps no book has appeared among us, and been universally read, which has given rise to a division of sentiments respecting its merits, so marked, and so easily assignable to different classes of minds. Those who read merely to be detained by variety of incident, or to be amused with vivid and energetic dialogue, or to be excited by highly wrought catastrophe, complain, when they have concluded it, of its general deficiency in all these particulars. Those who require original, and strongly marked, and completely sustained character, are less disappointed, although by no means thoroughly satisfied. The verbal critic, the mere "auceps syllabarum," utters an exclamation of loyal horror over the countless instances in which the laws of the Code Priscian are irreverently violated. Who then, it may be asked, are the readers that allow it to be a successful effort to maintain, and even to elevate the previously acquired reputation of its author? They are those of the highest order. They
are those who are capable of being delighted with a fresh and full infusion of the political tone of the most doubtful period of their own national history; who can glow with grateful exultation when they see a faithful picture, by the pencil of a native artist, of the scenes of their fathers' struggles for their own inheritance, which had hitherto baffled all attempts to give them any other interest than that which they derive from being the starting post to the goal of freedom. It should alone be enough to satisfy a craving for the praise of power and originality, even as inordinate as that betrayed by the author of the book before us in its preface, that he has been the first among us to dress in the evergreens of a fertile fancy, that consecrated spot where the most glorious feat of our independence was originally achieved, -on which the loftiest monument of the age is almost ready to be reared,--and over which the proudest eloquence of our country is preparing to pour its charm.
We shall proceed to justify, in detail, some of these preliminary remarks. And first for the plot. The hero of the story is a Bostonian by birth, educated in England, who on arriving at man's estate, returns to his native town as a major in the British service. On his return voyage, a stranger on board acquires, by some secret sympathy, a mysterious influence over him. This stranger, who afterwards proves to be his father, excites in the earlier part of the narrative, a powerful interest, from his seeming to be governed in all his actions by that masterspirit of the times in the colonies, which the author has displayed with great force and truth in some of the subordinate characters. This interest, however, totally vanishes with respect to the stranger, when we are informed that he is intended to be represented as a maniac; and we feel almost sorry that we had ever indulged it, when we find, (vol. 2. p. 216.) the reasons of his apparent devotion to the American cause, and of the “eternal hatred to that country from which he sprung, and those laws under which he was born," in which he invokes his son, at his mother's grave, to join him,-to be simply that in England, bedlamites are confined, or, to use his own words, that “ an innocent and unoffending man can be levelled with the beasts of the field, and be made to rave even at his Maker, in the bitterness of his sufferings.” The cause of this lunacy, of which Lionel himself is meant to seem to have a spice, is partly a hereditary tendency to the malady, but chiefly a shade thrown over the character of his deceased wife by his aunt, Mrs. Lechmere, as unaccountable an old lady as any of whom either romance or real life has ever yielded a specimen. This obsolete female, VOL. I.