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      To any old soldier it would be unnecessary to describe the condition in which Si found those hardtacks, and the effect of the soaking. For the information of any who never soaked a hardtack it may be said that Si found them transformed, to all appearances, into sole-leather. They were flexible, but as tough as the hide that was "found in the vat when the tanner died."V2 news came of the loss of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, the retreat of Bourlamaque, the fall of Niagara, and the expected advance of Amherst on Montreal. It was then that Lvis was despatched to the scene of danger; and Quebec was deplorably weakened by his absence. About this time the Lower Town was again set on fire by the English batteries, and a hundred and sixty-seven houses were burned in a night. In the front of the Upper Town nearly every building was a ruin. At the General Hospital, which was remote enough to be safe from the bombardment, every barn, shed, and garret, and even the chapel itself, were crowded with sick and wounded, with women and children from the town, and the nuns of the Ursulines and the H?tel-Dieu, driven thither for refuge. Bishop Pontbriand, though suffering from a mortal disease, came almost daily to visit and console them from his lodging in the house of the cur at Charlesbourg.

      When they were within a few miles of Absolom's Island, Riever glancing at the clock under the cowl, said:

      V2 Quebec. Think how pert the French would have been on such an occasion! What a scene! An army in the night dragging itself up a precipice by stumps of trees to assault a town and attack an enemy strongly intrenched and double in numbers! The King is overwhelmed with addresses on our victories; he will have enough to paper his palace." [814]V2 address, out of Quebec itself. [828] Early in spring the militia received orders to muster for the march. There were doubts and discontent; but, says a contemporary, "sensible people dared not speak, for if they did they were set down as English." Some there were who in secret called the scheme "Lvis' folly;" yet it was perfectly rational, well conceived, and conducted with vigor and skill. Two frigates, two sloops-of-war, and a number of smaller craft still remained in the river, under command of Vauquelin, the brave officer who had distinguished himself at the siege of Louisbourg. The stores and cannon were placed on board these vessels, the army embarked in a fleet of bateaux, and on the twentieth of April the whole set out together for the scene of action. They comprised eight battalions of troops of the line and two of colony troops; with the colonial artillery, three thousand Canadians, and four hundred Indians. When they left Montreal, their effective strength, besides Indians, is said by Lvis to have been six thousand nine hundred and ten, a number which was increased as he advanced by the garrisons of Jacques-Cartier, Dschambault, and Pointe-aux-Trembles, as well as by the Canadians on both side of the St. Lawrence below Three Rivers; for Vaudreuil had ordered the militia captains to join his standard, with all their followers, armed and equipped, on pain of death. [829] 342

      Danner had the grace not to look at Pen, but she was aware of his sharp spring to attention."Can't do it!" said Si. "You've got hold of the wrong man this time. I ain't goin' to have nobody monkeyin' 'round while I'm Corporal of this 'ere guard. Come along with me, and step out lively, too!"

      Pen greatly wished to say: "Well don't forget us," or something of the sort, light and friendly, but she could not get the words out.


      "Have you any information?" he demanded.



      She still went about her daily tasks like a piece of mechanism. She had to keep in some sort of motion. She experienced strange lapses, discovered herself offering whole corn in her hand to the newly-hatched chicks; came to to find herself in places without any notion of what she had come for. Her father kept out of her way."Doggone it, here they come," said Shorty, snatching up his gun.