94 THE FALL OF QUEBEC
low voice full of feeling, repeated Gray's Elegy to the officers around him.
"Gentlemen," he said simply, "I would rather
have written those lines than take Quebec."
It was an hour that those who survived it
As they neared the appointed place the cox-swains with one accord steered landwards. They were feeling their way along a few yards from shore, when there was the ominous rattle of a raised piece, and the short sharp challenge of a sentry saluted their ears:
He had run down to the water's edge and was trying to distinguish the outline of the clustering boats.
" La France," was the instant reply. An officer of the Fraser Highlanders had answered.
"A quel regiment ? "
"De la reine," returned the Highlander, adding in a lowered tone, "Provision boats. Don't speak so loud. The English will hear us," which seemed only reasonable, since the ship Hunter floated close by.
" Passez," responded the sentry briefly, and the boats stole on, relieved that no glimmer of dawn had yet appeared to betray their identity.