Page:Yule Logs.djvu/308

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

yells of the savages, the shots pouring in on all sides, told only too plainly that the siege had already begun.

"Young man, whoever you may be," said the farmer, who had at first protested, "you brought us into this trap, and you must get us out."

"I'll do the best I can for you," answered Josh, and he went off one way, Stephen Carter another, to organise the defence. They were indeed in a desperate strait; to enter the house and massacre every white man, woman, and child, was the determined object of the besiegers, and they left no device untried to accomplish this.

"The devils! I told you they'd fire us," said Josh to Stephen, as looking through a chink he saw the Indians piling wood and other combustible materials up against the walls of the house.

"Quick, make a chain and give them a shower-bath," he shouted.

He was obeyed with right good-will, and the flames were extinguished.

Then firebrands, fastened on long poles, were hoisted against the cornices and projections, in the hope of setting them on fire. Then arrows wound round with burning rags filled with sulphur were shot down on to the roof; whilst the savages swarmed on to the window-sills and balconies, trying to find some unguarded place; but they were thrust back, more often shot down, and falling on those below, created great confusion.

The first terror over, the besieged entered heart and soul into the spirit of the defence, and at every turn, by every device and cunning, baffled the Indians. Josh was indefatigable, Stephen following close on his heels, for his daring, unceasing energy excited the latter's admiration and fascinated him. He was seen to tear the firebrands from the poles and dash them amongst the enemy, then mounting on the roof he hurled the sulphured arrows back to