Chapter 13: Guns and Ammunition

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BATTLE OF THE LONG SAULT

CHAPTER 13. Guns and ammunition.

On April twenty-fourth, Annahotaha canoed into Montreal and began to check out rumors of Iroquois movements. His men had come upon other warriors on the river who told them about clues that could be interpreted as something brewing. When he got to Montreal, there were more anxious expressions on the faces of the citizens and tight security on the walls, low voices in the streets.

The next morning Mituvemeg arrived. Sober. He immediately asked where Annahotaha was to be found. He located him quickly, walking down the main street, Rue St. Paul.

"Greetings," said Mituvemeg

"Greetings," said Annahotaha.

"When?"

"When what?"

"When shall we fight?" Mituvemeg was bright-eyed.

Annahotaha said: "I have no time now. I have heard that some Frenchmen have gone up the Ottawa River to ambush the Iroquois. I have also heard bad things about the Iroquois. I am going to see the governor, see if this rumor is true."

"Good," said Mituvemeg. "I will go with you. I have heard dangerous reports about the Mohawk and Onondaga gathering a large force on the Iroquois River. Let us both go to the governor. We will see if we shall fight Iroquois or each other."

He fell into step beside the Huron chief. Mituvemeg was fifteen years younger than Annahotaha. He was taller by a head, not as broad in the chest, slim-hipped, lean and muscular. He wore the same kind of clothing as the older chief but his cloak was of polar bear fur. He had traded for it with some Nipissing Indians who wintered near James Bay and who had taken the bear there.

It was a handsome pelt, and it looked splendid against his dark skin. Mituvemeg said that he would never let it be stained by his blood, and he took it off when he fought in the winter. Drunk or sober, he always protected the polar bear skin. It was still cool at night so he wore it now.

Mituvemeg was the son of a chief but, of course, he had earned his position himself, escaping from Iroquois captors when he was sixteen and killing three of them doing it. He was handsome; a broad forehead dropped to slightly slanting dark eyes, then high, prominent cheekbones that gave way to a stern chin. He was volatile but sentimental. He loved gambling -although he would never bet his polar bear no matter how badly he lost or how drunk he was, and he was considered lucky by his followers.

He was the father of two children, and they brought smiles to his stern face. Much of the rest of the time his face wore a mask of gravity as if he were emulating older chiefs.

"Is this story of Dollard true?" he asked Annahotaha.

Anhahotaha shrugged. "Who knows? I hope it is true."

"Mmm," said Mituvemeg. "You would rather fight the Iroquois than me?"

"Yes."

"Good."

They were at the door. Annahotaha knocked, and Pierre de Belestre opened. de Belestre recognized them.

"Come in, Annahotaha. It is always a pleasure to see you and Mituvemeg!...come in chief. What brings the great warriors of the Huron and Algonquin together like this?"

Annahotaha shot Mituvemeg a quick glance. Mituvemeg said:

"We have come to see the governor."

"Yes, of course. Just a moment."

In Montreal, there were few formalities. Everyone had the ear of Maisonneuve but when two men of the caliber of these appeared, Maisonneuve wasted no time.

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