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The Reckoning   By: (1865-1933)

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[Illustration: Elsin Grey.]

The

RECKONING

BY

ROBERT W. CHAMBERS

AUTHOR OF "CARDIGAN," "THE MAID AT ARMS," "THE KING IN YELLOW," ETC.

NEW YORK A. WESSELS COMPANY 1907

Copyright, 1905, by ROBERT W. CHAMBERS

Published September, 1905

PRESS OF BRAUNWORTH & CO. BOOKBINDERS AND PRINTERS BROOKLYN, N.Y.

PREFACE

The author's intention is to treat, in a series of four or five romances, that part of the war for independence which particularly affected the great landed families of northern New York: the Johnsons, represented by Sir William, Sir John, Guy Johnson, and Colonel Claus; the notorious Butlers, father and son; the Schuylers, Van Rensselaers, and others.

The first romance of the series, Cardigan, was followed by the second, The Maid at Arms. The third in order is not completed. The fourth is the present volume.

As Cardigan pretended to portray life on the baronial estate of Sir William Johnson, the first uneasiness concerning the coming trouble, the first discordant note struck in the harmonious councils of the Long House, so, in The Maid at Arms, which followed in order, the author attempted to paint a patroon family disturbed by the approaching rumble of battle. That romance dealt with the first serious split in the Iroquois Confederacy; it showed the Long House shattered though not fallen; the demoralization and final flight of the great landed families who remained loyal to the British Crown; and it struck the key note to the future attitude of the Iroquois toward the patriots of the frontier revenge for their losses at the battle of Oriskany and ended with the march of the militia and Continental troops on Saratoga.

The third romance, as yet incomplete and unpublished, deals with the war path and those who followed it, led by the landed gentry of Tryon County, and ends with the first solid blow delivered at the Long House, and the terrible punishment of the Great Confederacy.

The present romance, the fourth in chronological order, picks up the thread at that point.

The author is not conscious of having taken any liberties with history in preparing a framework of facts for a mantle of romance.

ROBERT W. CHAMBERS.

NEW YORK, May 26, 1904 .

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. THE SPY 1

II. THE HOUSEHOLD 24

III. THE COQ D'OR 44

IV. SUNSET AND DARK 67

V. THE ARTILLERY BALL 97

VI. A NIGHT AND A MORNING 127

VII. THE BLUE FOX 164

VIII. DESTINY 188

IX. INTO THE NORTH 212

X. SERMONS IN STONES 239

XI. THE TEST 266

XII. THENDARA 289

XIII. THENDARA NO MORE 313

XIV. THE BATTLE OF JOHNSTOWN 336

XV. BUTLER'S FORD 366

TO MY FRIEND

J. HAMBLEN SEARS

WHOSE UNSELFISH FRIENDSHIP AND SOUND ADVICE

I ACKNOWLEDGE IN THIS

DEDICATION

I

His muscle to the ax and plow, His calm eye to the rifle sight, Or at his country's beck and bow, Setting the fiery cross alight, Or, in the city's pageantry, Serving the Cause in secrecy, Behold him now, haranguing kings While through the shallow court there rings The light laugh of the courtezan; This the New Yorker, this the Man!

II

Standing upon his blackened land, He saw the flames mount up to God, He saw the death tracks in the sand, And the dead children on the sod, He saw the half charred door, unbarred, The dying hound he left on guard, And that still thing he once had wed Sprawled on the threshold dripping red: Dry eyed he primed his rifle pan; This the New Yorker, this the Man!

III

He plowed the graveyard of his dead And sowed the grain to feed a host; In silent lands untenanted Save by the Sachems' painted ghost He set the ensign of the sun; A thousand axes rang as one In the black forest's falling roar, And through the glade the plowshare tore Like God's own blade in Freedom's van; This the New Yorker, and the Man!

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