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HOME > Short Stories > With Rogers on the Frontier > CHAPTER XI SETH RECEIVES PROMOTION
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It was with scrupulous care that Seth dressed himself on the following morning. To be sure, he had only his simple Ranger uniform to wear, but he took pains to be as neat as possible, and it became his shapely sinewy figure so well that more than one of those he met on the street turned to have a second look at him, and to wonder to what regiment he belonged.

Major Rogers was in high spirits, and talked freely as they walked at a good pace to Government House.

"You may consider yourself pretty lucky to have had this trip to Boston, Seth," he said in a tone of paternal patronage, that showed he wished his companion fully to appreciate his good fortune. "Not many of my men have ever been here, and none of them I'm sure has ever seen the Governor, and you will not only see him, but may have a chance to speak to him."

"I do, indeed, think myself lucky, and I'm more obliged to you for bringing me here than I can tell you, sir," responded Seth, with a conviction that left no doubt as to his sincerity and quite satisfied the Major, who smiled in a kindly way upon him, and, patting him on the shoulder, said:

"That's all right, Seth. I brought you along just because I thought you'd get more good out of the trip than almost any of the other fellows, and I guess I haven't made a mistake."

This implied compliment warmed Seth's heart and helped to brace him up for the ordeal of appearing before the famous Governor, of whom he had heard so much.

They were promptly ushered into the great man's presence. Governor Shirley, Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's forces in North America, although now well past sixty years of age, had lost little of his vigor and none of his enterprise, and, despite his being a lawyer by profession, took a keener interest in martial matters than in anything else. The one supreme ambition of his life was to overthrow the French power and make the whole North American continent an English possession, and to the fulfilment of this great purpose he devoted himself with an energy and determination that were altogether admirable.

In Major Rogers he had a man after his own heart—one who shared to the full his hatred of the French, and his passionate desire to see them driven back across the Atlantic, and he did not hesitate to say that had he only been a younger man he would have liked nothing better than to become a Ranger himself, and pit his daring and skill in scouting against French and Indian wiles.

His reception, therefore, was entirely gracious, and when the Major presented Seth, who felt very much abashed, he said to him genially:

"And so this is one of your young men, Major. He seems to be made of the right stuff."

Then, addressing Seth, he added: "How do you like being a Ranger? Do you prefer it to being in the ranks?"

Seth lifted his head and with glowing countenance replied heartily:

"Yes, indeed, your Excellency; I never want to be anything else than a Ranger."

"That speaks well for your method of command, Major," said the Governor, with a smile. "If all your men held the same opinion, there is no fear of them failing in their duty or loyalty, and now if our young friend will withdraw I will have a word with you alone."

Seth, though greatly pleased at the Governor's kind words, was glad enough to return to the ante-room, where, in conversation with one of the aides-in-waiting, he passed the time until Major Rogers came out again.

On their way back to the tavern the Major gave him the further particulars of his interview and the instructions he had received. His company was to be composed of sixty privates, three sergeants, an ensign, and a lieutenant, and they must all be picked men, thoroughly used to forest life, and of unquestionable courage and fidelity.

"My brother Richard will, of course, be my lieutenant," he went on with a keen look at Seth, who was listening intently, "but I have not yet quite settled who will be ensign. Who do you think would be the best man?"

"I'm sure I don't know," replied Seth quite innocently, for he had no glimmering of the Major's drift. "I expect any of the men would be glad to be ensign."

"How would you like it yourself, my lad?" asked the Major, laying his hand upon his shoulder.

Seth started and flushed to the roots of his hair. That the choice should fall upon him had not entered his head, yet there was evident earnestness in his chief's tone.

"I?" he exclaimed, half incredulously. "I'm not fit. I don't know enough. I'm too young."

The Major smiled approvingly, for he liked his spirit of modesty.

"What you don't know, you can learn, and you'll learn all the better for being young. I think I'll give you a trial anyway."

Seth could hardly believe his ears. It seemed too good to be true, and yet he knew the Major too well to suspect him of jesting.

"You are very good, sir," he faltered. "I will do my best to please you, and if I fail, then you must try somebody else."

"All right then, that's a bargain," laughed the Major. "I'll appoint you my ensign, and if you should not prove yourself fit for the position, I'll be free to try somebody else."

And thus the matter, which meant so much to Seth, was settled, and he went back to Fort William Henry in an even happier frame of mind than he had left it the fortnight before, and fairly bursting with eagerness to tell Reuben Thayer all about his trip, and how wonderfully well Major Rogers had treated him.

Reuben was impatiently awaiting his friend's return, and having a nature entirely free from petty jealousy, heartily shared in his joy and pride, at the same time expressing the hope that Seth's altered rank would make no difference in their friendship.

"No, indeed, Reuben," responded Seth emphatically. "We'll be just the same friends as ever I'm sure, even if sometimes you have to take orders from me, for, of course, we will both of us just be doing our duty."

With his wonted promptitude and energy Major Rogers set about forming his company. There was no lack of material. At Albany as well as at the fort the men offered themselves in numbers. The difficulty was to pick and choose.

In this the Major allowed no other consideration than the personal qualifications of the man to influence him. He would have nothing but the best, and when he had finished his task, he certainly had gathered together a band of forest fighters whose superiors could hardly have been found throughout the province.

A proper allowance for equipment having been made by t............
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