The Two Rings





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

stroke.



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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