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HOME > Short Stories > With Rogers on the Frontier > CHAPTER IX DOING DAMAGE TO THE ENEMY
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Although Major Rogers had entirely succeeded in the chief purpose of his expedition, namely, to obtain a full understanding of what the French were about at Crown Point, and had, moreover, captured one of their soldiers, who was quite ready to tell all he knew, provided his life was spared, he was not content to return to Fort William Henry without leaving behind evidence of his visit that would make it remembered by the enemy. Accordingly, after what he deemed a sufficient period of lying low, he said to his men:

"If I'm not mistaken there's a good store of grain in that village, which, as we can't take it away with us, we'll have to burn up so that the Frenchies and their friends won't have it to depend upon, and we might kill off a few of their cattle, too. They mustn't be allowed to live too well here or they'll be too anxious to stay."

The Rangers laughed at their leader's way of putting things, and replied that they were ready to do whatever he had in mind.

"Let us take a good look at the village, then, and see where it's best to begin," said the Major.

Breaking up into parties of ten, they advanced upon the village from different directions, and at sight of them the terrified inhabitants fled to their houses, in which they shut themselves without any thought of offering resistance.

"I hope we won't have to set the houses on fire," whispered Seth to Reuben as they drew near a rude dwelling, which he judged sheltered women and children. "I don't mind how many barns we burn, but I don't want to have a hand in hurting the poor people."

"Oh, surely Major Rogers won't do anything to them!" Reuben exclaimed under his breath. "We're not Indians."

They had no need to be anxious upon this score, however, for the Major, while merciless enough in his methods where it seemed necessary to be so, had no thought of following the shocking example set by the French in their harrying of the borders. He waged war against men, not against women and children.

But as much damage as possible had to be done, so the torch was applied to the barns, and the cattle were killed in the yards, and when the Rangers departed they left that part of the village in flames.

"What can the garrison of the fort be about that they haven't come after us?" queried Reuben naturally enough, when at last they turned their faces homeward; but no one could answer him. Whatever was the reason, whether they imagined the invaders to be in much greater force than they were, or whether they had no stomach to try a brush with them in the forest, certainly the French kept within their own defences and allowed the daring Rangers to go away unchallenged and unscathed, leaving the burning village as a hint of what they would do to Crown Point itself at the first opportunity.

Just ten days after they had set out they were back at Fort William Henry, whose commander warmly praised their leader for the success of his undertaking and the exceedingly important information he had secured.

A period of quiet followed, during which the garrison made shift to while away the time with such sports as were possible in mid-winter. They had snow fights, and snowshoe races, and they practised shooting at a mark, and they had wrestling matches, and whatever other amusements could be devised for either outdoor or indoors.

Into all this Seth entered with keen zest, and being so active and agile of both brain and body, rather more than held his own with the majority of his associates, which fact did not pass unnoticed by the all-observant Major, and no doubt had much to do with the pleasant surprise that he gave him when he sent for him one morning in March.

Seth found the Major in his room with a letter before him, from which he lifted his eyes to look him over with a searching glance that gave Seth a nervous feeling, and caused him to wonder in his mind what was on the carpet.

"Have you ever been to Boston, young man?" he was asked in a tone that afforded no hint of the purpose of the question.

"No, sir," replied Seth, "I have not."

"How would you like to go there?" was the next question.

Now to a frontier lad, who had never set foot in a city of any size, Boston naturally loomed very large and wonderful, and the idea of seeing it for himself could not be otherwise than highly attractive, so that it was without hesitation Seth answered:

"Why, very much indeed, sir. Do you want to send me there?"

"I don't want to send you, but I have some notion of taking you," the Major responded in his brusk way, and then went on to say that the letter in his hand was from General Shirley, Commander-in-Chief of the King's forces in North America, who was at Boston making preparations for the ensuing campaign, and had desired Major Rogers to wait upon him at Boston to receive his instructions.

Seth listened with eager ears. To have the trip to Boston, and there to see not only the famous city, but the great General, under whose command the war would be carried on, this certainly was an opportunity such as he had not dreamed of, and his heart beat quickly as he waited for the Major's definite instructions. When they came, they were characteristically brief and to the point.

"I'll take you with me,&qu............
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