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THE FALL OF QUEBEC   87

descending with headlong velocity into the hissing water.

In an incredibly short time all was life and commotion. On the island, ready for any emergency, congregated the troops, while from the ships hundreds of sailors poured over into the boats. At once it seemed as if the dark surface of the water was alive with brawny crews racing towards the threatening objects in advance, and as they surrounded each weltering pyramid of flame, hurrahs greeted the successful use of their grappling-irons. For hours the extraordinary conflict lasted, and constant shouts of "All's well !" rent the air, as one and another unwieldy seething mass was drawn out of harm's way, to drift aground and harmlessly die out in sullen spurts of flame. Happily for the British, the pyrotechnic display had resulted in nothing.

The delay that followed was galling to Wolfe's energetic nature. He had come to fight, and longed to be in the thick of it, but his experienced enemy would give him no chance. Keen and full of vigilance, from his fine position he knew that Montcalm was watching his every movement. His hands seemed tied, yet "We pass every night in bivouac, or else sleep in our clothes," were his rival's significant words to


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