It was during these moments of deep silence that the canvas which concealed the entrance to a spacious
marquee in the French encampment was shoved aside, and a man issued from beneath the drapery
into the open air. He was enveloped in a cloak that might have been intended as a protection from the
chilling damps of the woods, but which served equally well as a mantle to conceal his person. He was
permitted to pass the grenadier, who watched over the slumbers of the French commander, without
interruption, the man making the usual salute which betokens military deference, as the other passed
swiftly through the little city of tents, in the direction of William Henry. Whenever this unknown individual
encountered one of the numberless sentinels who crossed his path, his answer was prompt, and, as it
appeared, satisfactory; for he was uniformly allowed to proceed without further interrogation.
With the exception of such repeated but brief interruptions, he had moved silently from the center of the
camp to its most advanced outposts, when he drew nigh the soldier who held his watch nearest to the
works of the enemy. As he approached he was received with the usual challenge:
, was the reply.
Le mot d'ordre
, said the other, drawing so nigh as to be heard in a loud whisper.
, returned the sentinel, throwing his musket from the charge to his shoulder;
bien matin, monsieur
Il est nécessaire d'être vigilant, mon enfant
, the other observed, dropping a fold of his cloak, and looking
the soldier close in the face as he passed him, still continuing his way toward the British fortification.
The man started; his arms rattled heavily as he threw them forward in the lowest and most respectful
salute; and when he had again recovered his piece, he turned to walk his post, muttering between his
Il faut être vigilant, en vérité! je crois que nous avons là, un caporal qui ne dort jamais
The officer proceeded, without affecting to hear the words which escaped the sentinel in his surprise; nor
did he again pause until he had reached the low strand, and in a somewhat dangerous vicinity to the
western water bastion of the fort. The light of an obscure moon was just sufficient to render objects,
though dim, perceptible in their outlines. He, therefore, took the precaution to place himself against the
trunk of a tree, where he leaned for many minutes, and seemed to contemplate the dark and silent mounds
of the English works in profound attention. His gaze at the ramparts was not that of a curious or idle
spectator; but his looks wandered from point to point, denoting his knowledge of military usages, and
betraying that his search was not unaccompanied by distrust. At length he appeared satisfied; and having
cast his eyes impatiently upward toward the summit of the eastern mountain, as if anticipating the approach