Story about a little boy, Peters Mtn and indians.
THE SCBAHTGN A LAD'S STRATEGEM. Written for The Republican. About sunrise of a crisp October horning in the vear 1756 Oliver Lindsay, a Blim sunburned sunburned lad of 15, vs standing on the platform platform of the Fort Hunter stockade, looking Tery discontentedly at the autumn landscape. landscape. As far as he could see russet and gold tinted mountains sloped to the shores of the broad Susquehanna. Below him, and a few feet to one side, a stolid - looking sentry paced before the wide open gates. From the low log structure cf the fort proper, behind the lad, came the eager prattle of children, the shrili voices of women, and the rattle of tinware. In the yard a few scattered groups of soldiers were lighting their after breakfast pipes, or polishing polishing and cleaning their flint - lock muskets. It was more than a year after Braddock's disastrous defeat near Fort Duquetme, and the murderous Shawanese and Delaware?, in their slow and unopposed advance with scalping knife and tomahawk, had pene trated to this part 01 me irrumua ui ireuu - sylvania. At least they had been in the vicinity of Shamokin a week before, at which time the scattered settlers had flocked in haste to the recently constructed forts along the river. A dozen families were under the protection protection of Fort Hunter, which was garrisoned by two sergeants and thirty - tour privates. Mr. Lindsay, with his wife, had gone on to Philadelphia to urge the need of more efficient efficient protection upon the Assembly, leaving leaving Oliver in care of neighbors at the fort. It was a dull and monotonous experience for the lad, and he heartily wished himself back at his cosy home near the base of Peter's mountain. All through the summer he had looked forward to the joys of October. October. Now, instead of gathering nuts for winter or tracking deer and smaller game, he was a prisoner behind the tall stockade. He could have better stood danger and excitement, but there was not even that to relieve the irksomene3s of life at the fort. No Indian atrocities had occurred within thirty miles, and the scouts who went out daily reported no signs of savages. The settlers themselves were discontented, and admitted that they had been hasty in abandoning abandoning their homes, while the fact that the gates were lett open by day showed plainly whiit the soldiers thought of the situation. "I'd 'i e to stretch my legs on the mountain mountain and pick up a few chestnuts," Oliver remarked tothe sentry below him. "They're just dropping out of the burrs now. I wonder if there's any danger ?" Private Gideon G.mble, having an exalted idea of his own dignity and of the rigid duties of his post, frovrued slightly by way of reply. But Sergeant Piper, wno chanced to be papains? along, overheard the latter part of Oliver's remark. "Don'c be afraid, sonny," he said, reassuringly. reassuringly. "Your hair ain't in any danger of bain' lifted. Why, I'd make my after - davit there ain't a redskin within forty miles. They know better than to meddle with provincial troops, an' as long as you people stay in this fort you're safe." "I dida't mean that," Oliver began, indignantly, indignantly, but the sergeant had already paced out of hearing, and was negotiating a loau of tobacco from his fellow officer. A moment later Oliver jumped down from the platform and thoughtfully crossed the yard. "Sergeant Piper says there's no danger," he reflected, "and he ought to know. I'm just raveaous for chestnuts. I needn't go far and 1 can easily get back before before I'm missed." He entered the block lioHse and when he came, out the rear door two minutes afterward he had an empty powder bi.g stuffed into his pocket. A glance around satisfied him that the coast was clear. He mounted the stockade on the river side, climbed over, and dropped lightly down in the grass. From the bluff on which the fort stood the lad descended to the ravine of the creek, and after following this for half a wile he struck across the thick timber to the first mountaiu. The chestnuts were not so plentiful as he had expected, and he trudged up one side of the mountain and down the other. He sorely wished that he had his gun along, for quail nd turkeys constantly started up before him, and once he caught a distant glimpse of a dejr. Beguiled by the beauiy of the clay and by the intoxication of bis freedom Oliver strayed across the valley to what was known as Little Mountain, where he filled his bag with chestnuts in a short time. It was now long past noon, and he ruefully discovered that he was hungry and a good distance from the fort. As he lay stretched ou the sunny slope of a rock partly up the mountain a bright idea occurred to him. Oniy a mile and a half away the sharp face of Peter's Mountain Mountain dropped into the Susquehanna, and ho Ho uttered a cry ould see the very clump of trees behind which the home clearing stood. He remembered remembered that in the hasty preparation for flight he had concealed his fowling boat under bushes at the mouth of the run What was to prevent his getting it now, and paddling down the river to the fort ? There was no obstacle, as far as Oliver could see. A short tramp through the forest would bring him to his home, and the river was close by, It was far quicker and easier to return by that route than by the way he had come. Danger from Indians did not occur to him. The more he thought of the plan the better better he liked it. He felt a striwg desire to see how the place looked after a week of solitude. Perhaps the chickens and ducks had not been able to scratch a living for themselves and were dying or starvation: or Brown Bess, the cow. which his father had driven far into the woods, had returned to the empty stable and missed the companionship companionship of the two horses, who by this time had carried Mr. Lindsay and his wife to Philadelphia. From simply wishing Oliver easily persuaded persuaded himself that it was his boanden duty to visit the settlement when so convenient convenient an opportunity offered. With a ance at the hazy sun he scrambled down the slope to the heavy forest below, and struck briskly off in a bee line for Peter's Mountain. Before long he recognized familiar spots. Eere was the pool of the brook where he had snared the big trout, and there the clump of hazel bushes in which he had roused and shot his first pheasant. At last he broke from the shadowy oak and chestnut timber into the meager clearing clearing where stood the log house and 6table. As he paused with a natural instinct of caution he felt a sharp pang at the contrast between bis life hero and at the fort. All seemed auiet and peaceful, so he crossed a field of corn stubble to the stable. The door was still closed and there was no sign of Brown Bess. The chickens were scratching about as calmly as though they had not been at the mercy of four - footed prowlers for a week past, and the occa sional quack of a happy duck came irom the hidden channel of the run at the foot of the clearing. A few steps farther brought Oliver to the House and he opened the door ana entered. He glanced carelessly through the two lower rooms, noting that what furniture had been too heavy to take to the lort was undisturbed. Next he climbed the rickety steps to the loft overhead, where he knew that some maple sugar was stored in a cranny of the rafters. He easily found it and was rolling a delicious morsel in his mouth when a noise outside stiffened his limbs with sudden terror, He heard footsteps on the frosty ground. the cackling of frightened and fleeing fowls, and the gutteral tones of several human voices. Then the intruders came into the house and moccasined feet shuffled softly over the floor. Indians, of course, was Oliver's instant He saw the last of the vanishing. Indians just conviction. For a minute ho simply could not move from fright, and his throbbing heart seemed to come clear up into his mouth. A resistless fascination kept his eyes on the opening at the bead of the steps, where he expected an Indian's scalp lock to appear every second. At the same time he could see the outlines of the one shuttered window of the loft, but he dared not stir to reach it, nor could he have opened the shutter without a noisy creak ing or the rustv hinees. When the suspense was more than the lad could endure, and no prying feet had yet ueen piatitea on tne steps, ne noiselessly lowered himself to his hands and knees, let go of the bag of nuts, and crept a few inches to a spacious crack in the floor. He looked timidly down and saw enough to mane nis Diooa run cola. Directly beneath him, and close to the kitchen chimney, stood seven Iudians, both Delawares and Shawaneeg. They were armed with muskets and tomahawks, and tneir brutal faces were hideously streaked with red and yellow cob re. One had a reeking scalp dangling from his belt, and several wore faded and greasy red coats that had evidently belonged to some of Braddock's ill - fated soldiers. Another, to whose face a broken nose lent a most ferocious aspect, held in his hand a pair of plump hens, which he had captured and killed outside. From his words and gestures he seemed anxious to make a fire in the chimney and cook the fowls. To this the others plainly objected, and after they had talked for a while in low and broken English, Oliver suddenly discovered discovered that they were on their way to attack attack Fort Hunter. The lad now almost forgot his own peril as he listened keenly for farther iuforma - of feigned agony. tion, and before long his patience was amply rewarded. He learned that the Indians below him were the advance guard of a larger force, which they expected to join shortly nt the foot of Peter's .Mountain. Then they planned to push on to Fort Hunter, roach it before sunset, and rush through the gates It appeared that scouts bad upprised them of bow easily the fort could be taken by surprise, and of the feeling of confidence and security that prevailed prevailed there. Though Oliver knew that his situation was still very critical the uppermost thought in his mind was to thwart, the threatened attack, and he saw pretty clearly how it could be done, provided the opportunity was given him. "Hurry no and so, you painted fiends," he whispered under bis nreatn - "men we u see wno sets to tne fort first. Oh ! but you'll suffer for all the settlers you've murdered" However, the Iudians were provokingly slow aoout going. They kept talKing ana gesturing, and all the time Oliver shivered and perspired for fear they would take notion to explore the loft. But finally, after ransacking a chest of drawers and slashing it with their toma hawks, the whole party slo jched out of the door and their soft tread faded from hear ing. Doubtless mere cariosity had drawn them to the house, or the hope that it was stiu innaoitea. Oliver did not dare to stir for several minutes, though it seemed a much longer time than that owing to his excited state of mind. Then he rose, stretched his cramped lees a bit, and cautiously descended the steps to the lower floor. The bouse stood near the southwest cor ner of the clearing, and looked toward the river, t rom tne door a narrow road with bashes on each side led straight for fifty yards to tne thick chestnut timber: several nunarea yards to the right lay the base of the mountain, and a short distance to the left the clearing was bounded by the channel ot the ran. Oliver hurried first to the right - hand end of the bouse, and peeping through a crevice oi the leg be saw the last of the Indians just vanishing in the rocky thickets of the mountain. Be waited a little longer to better his chances of escaping observation. and then crawled on hands and knees out of the door. He rose to his feet as soon as he was fairly started down the road, and stooping low he ran swiftly between the ousnes ana tail grass. He was close to the shelter of the trees when the sight of a copper - colored snake squirming across the path cansed him to start back and spring erect. Iustantly, bet too late, ne repented his imprudence. A musket cracked sharply on the right, and ne leit a onuet whistle by his ear. Oliver was badly frightened, but he had his share of the pluck and grit that made the settlers of those early days what they were, as ne plunged into the timber a second report rang out, and a bunch of leaves was nipped from a sapling at his side, fie sped on like a deer, wisely keeping to the road, where he could make the best speed. Be now heard no sound of pursuit, but well be knew that the crafty savages were coming swiftly and silently on his tracK. Faster and faster the lad ran. What if the boat should be gone? The thought strucK a emu or terror to his heart, lor in that event all hope of life was gone as well Ou the boat hung his only chance of es caping tne tomahawk or saving the occu pants ot the tort from a like fate. The remembrance that other lives than bis own were at stake kept up his courage and strength, but he was badly winded when he came to where the road swerved to ford the run. Here he took to the shallow channel, leaping rocks and logs and splash me througa pools. At last he caught a glimmer of the broad river auead, ana an instant later he eagerly tore apart a clump of water - birches. He uttered a low cry of delight, for there was the boat just as he had left it, the paddle sun lying oa tne Dot torn. Oliver quickly dragged the light craft over sand and gravel, and launched it on the swift current of the river. He tumbled in and began to paddle with all bis might for mid - stream. Hope thrilled his heart as he glanced back between the strokes. The shore was thirty yards behind forty - fifty. Ahl there they were. Out from the bushes leapt the painted savages, and a blood - curdling whooo echoed from mouu tain to mountain. Two muskets cracked. but still the daring lad Daddied on, booing to increase tne distance betore dropping under cover, cut a thira shot tore the paddle from bis grasp, and then quickly i clever ruse flashed into bis mind. He ut tered a cry of feigned agony, tossed up his arms, ana ten nuapiy to toe bottom ot the boat. There was silence for a moment, and then tne bullets began to whistle. Some 0w overhead, and some spattered the water roundabout; nan a dozen pierced tne sides of the boat, but luckily did not barm the prostrate lad. Finally the fusillade ended, and not a sound was heard but the rippling of the current The Indians clearly believed that the fugitive was dead, and not worth the waste of more powder and ball. The boat drifted on and on, now pitching and tossing amid rapids, now grinding on submerged rocks and grass - bars. Ouver did not dare to rise. He knew that the current trended toward mid - stream, and in this thought there was comfort and cheer. For fully half an hour he ly on his back, gazing up at the blue October sky. Then, satisfied that the danger was past, he sat up and looked about. Peter's Mountain was hidden by a bend of the river, and there was no trace of the Indians on the shore. With part of his shirt he plugged up several of the bullet - holes that were leaking, and than started to paddle lustily. In a little less than an hour Oliver landed under the stockade of Fort Hunter, and walked ealmly through the open gate. There had been considerable anxiety over his absence, but no one had a word oi re proof for the brave lad when he had related his tunning aaventure. At sunset the Iudians arrived, doubtless disappointed to find the gates closed. The watchful sentries discovered them lurking in the timber, and they were greeted with so hot and scattering a nre that they re treated in haste, leaving three dead behind During the perilous weeks that followed Fort Hunter was not molested, and in time the settlers went safely baok to rebuild on the charred embers of their homes. M. Or. THE JONISSARIES. Christian Boys Who Ware Blade to Fight as Moslem Soldier, Written for The Republican. Tbe mighty Ottoman Empire which at one time threatened the civilized world. sprung from a band of 400 wandering Turkman families in the central part of Asia. Led by the sultan Oihman, they swept down through the southwest, gathering power as they went, crossed iDto Europe, conquered Greece, and took the city of Constantinople, making it their capital. Id the year 1360 tbe sultan Orcan by the advice of the dervish. Black Halil decreed that all tbe captive Christian boys under fourteen years of age should be organized into a band of soldiers to support the government. From that time until tbe year 1826, where the tide of Ottoman battle raged most fiercely, there, lavage, dark, invincible stood the Jonissaries. boys suckled on Christian breasts and signed with Christian bap tism, now flinging away their lives for an alien cause and an alien creed, fighting with tbe irresistable courage of fanati cism against their birthright and their kindred. In order to recruit the ranks Shrall, Ilungsry, Servia, Bulgaria and all the countries under Ottoman sway had a most inhuman tax imposed on them. Every fifth year each fumily was required to yield up a victim. Only too stoutest and most beautiful boys were taken. Torn from their parents when mere children, they were carried off to tbe palace of the sultan sua put in charge or. tneAgs, a military officer of supreme power. New names were given them and they were daily instructed in the rights of Mabome danism. Their physical developments was perfect, they being required to exercise continually iu wrestling, boxing, running and the arts of war. The best teachers in Europe were engaged to instruct them, and some of them became noted scholars. Those most conspicuous for birth, talents and beauty constituted tbe prince's body guard and receive enormous pay. Eventually Eventually imbued with tbe faith of Islam,.