Page:Yule Logs.djvu/313

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If the rain held off only a little longer, it would be too late! Already a buttress had caught fire, and at the risk of their lives the two Carters, father and son, with the aid of several other men, hewed at it to separate it from the main building. Suddenly a flash of lightning, so lurid that the whole heavens were illumined, followed by a crash of thunder, rolling as it seemed in the nethermost parts of the earth and in the heavens above, struck English and Indians alike with terror. The latter, throwing themselves with their faces on the earth, lay as if stunned. And then the clouds burst, a sheet of water poured down, a perfect deluge! In the space of a few minutes the land was submerged, the fire was extinguished, and the burning mass reduced to smoking embers.

The besieged knew that for the present they were saved, and the Indians knew they were conquered by the "Great Unseen," and so, rising half drowned, they fled to the forest. As suddenly as the storm had risen so suddenly did it abate.

Then another sound reached the ears of the besieged, the tramping of horses' hoofs coming at full speed through the deserted village, and a troop of some fifty or sixty horsemen pursued the Indians, shooting and hewing them down. Many were slain, and those who escaped dispersed. Before sunset all fear was over for that brave little garrison, the house-doors were thrown open, and they came forth to welcome their rescuers.

"Josiah Blackstone? where is Blackstone? We owe our lives to him," said James Carter.

"Ay, verily we do!" shouted a chorus of voices.

"You say truly," responded Colonel Willard. "When he arrived at my camp this morning both he and his horse were dead beat; he could not have ridden back with me. There comes a time when even the strongest man has to give in, and Josh Blackstone had reached that stage. Do you know where he came from?