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The Two Rings


Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Gabrielle de St. Pierre, daughter of the commandant of Fort Le Boeuf,
now--Waterford, Pennsylvania, that the French had setup on the Ohio
River, was Parisian by birth and training, but American by choice, for
she had enjoyed on this lonesome frontier a freedom equal to that of the
big-handed, red-faced half-breeds, and she was as wild as an Indian in
her sports. Returning from a hunt, one day, she saw three men advancing
along the trail, and, as it was easy to see that they were not Frenchmen,
her guide slipped an arrow to the cord and discharged it; but Gabrielle
was as quick as he, for she struck the missile as it was leaving the bow
and it quivered harmlessly into a beech. The younger of the men who were
advancing--he was Harry Fairfax, of Virginia--said to his chief, Another
escape for you, George. Heaven sent one of its angels to avert that

Washington, for it was he, answered lightly, and, as no other hostile
demonstrations were made, the new-comers pressed on to the fort, where
St. Pierre received them cordially, though he knew that their errand was
to claim his land on behalf of the English and urge the French to retire
to the southwest. The days that were spent in futile negotiation passed
all too swiftly for Fairfax, for he had fallen in love with Gabrielle.
She would not consent to a betrothal until time had tried his affection,
but as a token of friendship she gave him a stone circlet of Indian
manufacture, and received in exchange a ring that had been worn by the
mother of Fairfax.

After the diplomats had returned the English resolved to enforce their
demand with arms, and Fairfax was one of the first to be despatched to
the front.

Early in the campaign his company engaged the enemy near the Ohio River,
and in the heat of battle he had time to note and wonder at the strange
conduct of one of the French officers, a mere stripling, who seemed more
concerned to check the fire of his men than to secure any advantage in
the fight. Presently the French gave way, and with a cheer the English
ran forward to claim the field, the ruder spirits among them at once
beginning to plunder the wounded. A cry for quarter drew Fairfax with a
bound to the place whence it came, and, dashing aside a pilfering
soldier, he bent above a slight form that lay extended on the earth: the
young officer whose strange conduct had so surprised him. In another
moment he recognized his mother's ring on one of the slender hands. It
was Gabrielle. Her father had perished in the fight, but she had saved
her lover.

In due time she went with her affianced to his home in Williamsburg,
Virginia, and became mistress of the Fairfax mansion. But she never liked
the English, as a people, and when, in later years, two sturdy sons of
hers asked leave to join the Continental army, she readily consented.

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