22 THE DEFENCE OF VERCHERES
glories of the maple woods on both sides of the river, and climbing the hills in the distance, there overhung with its faint blue haze, the lazy caw of the crows settling on the newly-cut grain, the dreamy calm of the shortening days —for these things at least are not changed.
On such a day the young chatelaine had left the house, and wandered down to the river-side at some little distance from the walls, where in peaceful contemplation of the smoothly flowing grey-blue current she stood shading her eyes and gazing across the wide shining track of gold cast by the westering sun.
But what was that? The sharp report of a musket, followed by discordant and blood-curdling whoops and yells ! Another—anotherand another ! The first wildly paralyzing shock betrayed the horror of its origin. She had heard the awful sounds before . . . it was . . . the Iroquois !
Madelaine gave a hasty glance round. There was no mistake. A number of savages, emerging from a covert of tangled brush at no great distance, were led by an athletic young brave far in advance of his comrades. Already he was near, and with a long bound on the part of the girl, a wild race for life or death began. As