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CHAPTER XIV.Nothing could be more just than these reproaches; and, if the English governor had answered by a vigorous attack on the French forts south of the St. Lawrence, the Iroquois warriors would have raised the hatchet again with one accord. But 401 Fletcher was busy with other matters; and he had besides no force at his disposal but four companies, the only British regulars on the continent, defective in numbers, ill-appointed, and mutinous. Therefore he answered not with acts, but with words. The negotiation with the French went on, and Fletcher called another council. It left him in a worse position than before. The Iroquois again asked for help: he could not promise it, but was forced to yield the point, and tell them that he consented to their making peace with Onontio.
Pen glanced at Riever through her lashes as he returned to her. The little man held himself stiffly in his blue yachting togs and walked with a suggestion of a strut. The greatest tailor in the world could not endow his meager frame with beauty or grace, but it was not to be denied that his wonderfully made clothes lent him a certain distinction."Sleep!" said Pen. "I've got all the rest of my life to sleep in!"
As he spoke the man with the rope said: "I've got it!" And started to haul in.
V2 the side of the rangers, Captain Ogden and six men were wounded, and a Mohegan Indian from Stockbridge was killed. Rogers was told by his prisoners that a party of three hundred French and Indians was encamped on the river below, and that another party of two hundred and fifteen was not far distant. They had been sent to cut off the retreat of the invaders, but were doubtful as to their designs till after the blow was struck. There was no time to lose. The rangers made all haste southward, up the St. Francis, subsisting on corn from the Indian town; till, near the eastern borders of Lake Memphremagog, the supply failed, and they separated into small parties, the better to sustain life by hunting. The enemy followed close, attacked Ensign Avery's party, and captured five of them; then fell upon a band of about twenty, under Lieutenants Dunbar and Turner, and killed or captured nearly all. The other bands eluded their pursuers, turned southeastward, reached the Connecticut, some here, some there, and, giddy with fatigue and hunger, toiled wearily down the wild and lonely stream to the appointed rendezvous at the mouth of the Amonoosuc."I left the packages in the boat," she said scornfully. "No doubt by this time Delehanty has examined them."
Dumas, required by the orders of his superiors to wage a detestable warfare against helpless settlers and their families, did what he could to temper its horrors, and enjoined the officers who went with the Indians to spare no effort to prevent them from torturing prisoners.  The attempt should be set down to his honor; but it did not avail much. In the record of cruelties committed this year on the borders, we find repeated instances of children scalped alive. "They kill all they meet," writes a French priest; "and after having abused the women and maidens, they slaughter or burn them." 
In the pain and languor of a mortal wound, Braddock showed unflinching resolution. His bearers 224Denonville at length broke silence, and ordered the militia to muster. They grumbled and hesitated, for they remembered the failures of La Barre. The governor issued a proclamation, and the bishop a pastoral mandate. There were sermons, prayers, and exhortations in all the churches. A revulsion of popular feeling followed; and the people, says Denonville, "made ready for the march with extraordinary animation." The church showered blessings on them as they went, and daily masses were ordained for the downfall of the foes of Heaven and of France.