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D'Ri and I   By: (1859-1950)

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D'RI AND I

A TALE of DARING DEEDS in the SECOND WAR with the BRITISH.

Being the Memoirs of Colonel Ramon Bell, U.S.A.

BY IRVING BACHELLER, author of "Eben Holden."

1901

TO MY WIFE

PREFACE

This is a tale of the adventurous and rugged pioneers, who, unconquered by other foes, were ever at war with the ancient wilderness, pushing the northern frontier of the white man farther and farther to the west. Early in the last century they had striped the wild waste of timber with roadways from Lake Champlain to Lake Ontario, and spotted it with sown acres wide and fair; and still, as they swung their axes with the mighty vigor of great arms, the forest fell before them,

In a long valley south of the St. Lawrence, sequestered by river, lake, and wilderness, they were slow to lose the simplicity, the dialect, and the poverty of their fathers.

Some Frenchmen of wealth and title, having fled the Reign of Terror, bought a tract of wild country there (six hundred and thirty thousand acres) and began to fill it with fine homes. It was said the great Napoleon himself would some day build a chateau among them. A few men of leisure built manor houses on the river front, and so the Northern Yankee came to see something of the splendor of the far world, with contempt, as we may well imagine, for its waste of time and money.

Those days the North country was a theatre of interest and renown. Its play was a tragedy; its setting the ancient wilderness; its people of all conditions from king to farm hand. Chateau and cabin, trail and forest road, soldier and civilian, lake and river, now moonlit, now sunlit, now under ice and white with snow, were of the shifting scenes in that play. Sometimes the stage was overrun with cavalry and noisy with the clang of steel and the roar of the carronade.

The most important episodes herein are of history, so romantic was the life of that time and region. The marriage is almost literally a matter of record.

A good part of the author's life has been spent among the children of those old raiders Yankee and Canadian of the north and south shores of the big river. Many a tale of the camp and the night ride he has heard in the firelight of a winter's evening; long familiar to him are the ruins of a rustic life more splendid in its day than any north of Virginia. So his color is not all of books, but of inheritance and of memory as well.

The purpose of this tale is to extend acquaintance with the plain people who sweat and bled and limped and died for this Republic of ours. Darius, or "D'ri" as the woods folk called him, was a pure bred Yankee, quaint, rugged, wise, truthful; Ramon had the hardy traits of a Puritan father, softened by the more romantic temperament of a French mother. They had no more love of fighting than they had need of it.

CONTENTS

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII. VIII. IX. X. XI. XII. XIII. XIV. XV. XVI. XVII. XVIII. XIX. XX. XXI. XXII. XXIII. XXIV. XXV. XXVI. XXVII.

[Transcriber's Note: The chapters in the original text were numbered, but had no titles.]

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

LOUISE

D'RI AND I

I COULD NOT TELL WHICH OF THE TWO GIRLS I LOVED THE BETTER

HE WOULD HAVE FOUGHT TO THE DEATH IF I HAD BUT GIVEN HIM WORD

"COME, NOW, MY PRETTY PRISONER"

"WE 'LL TEK CARE O' THE OL' BRIG"

WE WERE BOTH NEAR BREAKING DOWN

"THEN I LEAVE ALL FOR YOU"

INTRODUCTION

From a letter of Captain Darius Hawkins, U. S. A., introducing Ramon Bell to the Comte de Chaumont:

"MY DEAR COUNT: I commend to your kind offices my young friend Ramon Bell, the son of Captain Bell, a cavalry officer who long ago warmed his sword in the blood of the British on many a battle field. The young man is himself a born soldier, as brave as he is tall and handsome. He has been but a month in the army, yet I have not before seen a man who could handle horse and sword as if they were part of him. He is a gentleman, also, and one after your own heart, I know, my dear count, you will do everything you can to further the work intrusted to him... Continue reading book >>




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