The Plot, Volume 2

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[edit] The Plot, Volume 2

Wacousta book cover. McCrea, Harold. Wacousta or, The Prophecy: A Tale of the Canadas. 1987. Goodreads, Accessed 14 June 2020.
Wacousta book cover. McCrea, Harold. Wacousta or, The Prophecy: A Tale of the Canadas. 1987. Goodreads, Accessed 14 June 2020.
A sketch of Fort Detroit. Fort Shelby/Fort Detroit. Military History of the Upper Great Lakes, Accessed 14 June 2020.
A sketch of Fort Detroit. Fort Shelby/Fort Detroit. Military History of the Upper Great Lakes, Accessed 14 June 2020.

A depiction of Fort Detroit in colour. Remington, Frederic. The Siege of Fort Detroit. 1861-1909. Wikipedia, Accessed 14 June 2020.
A depiction of Fort Detroit in colour. Remington, Frederic. The Siege of Fort Detroit. 1861-1909. Wikipedia, Accessed 14 June 2020.

Fort Michilimackinac. Fort Michilimackinac-Fort Michilimackinac Historic Reenactment Pageant. Crazycrow, Accessed 14 June 2020.
Fort Michilimackinac. Fort Michilimackinac-Fort Michilimackinac Historic Reenactment Pageant. Crazycrow, Accessed 14 June 2020.

An illustration of Ponteac. Pontiac’s Rebellion.1763.Thinglink, Accessed 14 June 2020.
An illustration of Ponteac. Pontiac’s Rebellion.1763.Thinglink, Accessed 14 June 2020.
A depiction of a meeting between the Europeans and the Indigenous people. Visit of Pontiac and the Indians to Major Gladwin. Ohio History Central, Accessed 14 June 2020.
A depiction of a meeting between the Europeans and the Indigenous people. Visit of Pontiac and the Indians to Major Gladwin. Ohio History Central, Accessed 14 June 2020.

[edit] Overview for Volume Two

The portion of Richardson’s text that will be analyzed on this page is the plot of volume two of Wacousta, or the Prophecy; A Tale of the Canada’s. This particular volume constructs the conflict in the plot as well as steers the story towards its climax. Volume two picks up right after the death of Frank Halloway and the announcement of Ellen’s prophecy. The volume depicts scenes of violence and terror drawing upon elements of the gothic genre and depicting a garrison mentality towards Canada’s landscape in literature. This volume expands on the actions that have taken place in volume one expressing individual moments of interaction between the English settlers and the Indians. For example, Frederick’s absence declared in volume one is drawn in greater detail in volume two chapter seven, breaking down his experience encountering the Indians and eventually escaping back to Fort Detroit. This volume includes two attacks by the Ottawa’s including Wacousta onside with the Indians against the English settlers in chapter six and eleven. In the volume, ideas of deceit, disguise, and deception are incorporated which ultimately further damages the relationship between the Indians and the English settlers. The volume uses the recurrent idea of deception to calculate a planned attack on the British fort with the help of the Wacousta.

In volume two Wacousta’s intentions for attacking the fort are not yet revealed to the reader, however, the importance of volume two to Richardson’s work as a whole is that Wacousta’s actions help to foreshadow future violence upon the English settlers. Furthermore, when examining the importance of volume two as a whole it is imperative to draw upon both volume one and three. Volume one establishes the landscape of the story while introducing the perspective of the novel and main conflict involving Wacousta and the chaos he initiates. Whereas volume three marks the climax, falling action and the denouement of the novel while also revealing Wacousta’s reasons for revenge upon the English settlement, more specifically claiming revenge on the de Haldimar family. Volume two is necessary for the entire novel because the plot that occurs acts as rising action towards the climax presented in volume three. Volume two essentially prepares readers for how Ellen’s prophecy of destruction will be fulfilled in volume three.

[edit] Chapter 1

Key Events

The first chapter of Volume two in Richardson’s Wacousta begins with two English officials leaving Fort Detroit to travel to Fort Michilimackinac which is a French fort (161). The officers are guided by a Canadian man of French descent named Francois (161). The English officers are presented as “imperfectly hidden under an equipment evidently adopted for, and otherwise fully answering, the purpose of disguise” (159) extending “to the features a Canadian-like expression” (160).

The two English officers are brought to Francois’s town (164). When reaching Francois’s town, Francois’s first idea is to take the two English officers another route through the country forests to avoid “all chance of recognition in the town” (164). This idea is changed rather quickly when Francois realizes that the forest outside the fort is home to the Indigenous people and if all three of them were to come in contact with them, he felt danger would most certainly arise (164). So “his plan had been abandoned for the more circuitous and safe passage by the village” (164).

It is nighttime when the three travel through the town roads and while they are making their way towards Francois’s hut, they encounter an elder of the town (164). The elder threatens Francois that if his visitors did harm to their home, he would have to repay the Christian faith with his life (164). With this being said Francois assures the elder that his visitors’ presence is nothing to worry about (164).

Directly after the encounter with the elder, Francois leaves the two officers alone waiting outside in the backyard of the hut with the landscape of an orchard in the background (165). While they are waiting for Francois to return the two officers hear a woman’s scream coming from the front of the hut along with a sound “produced by the faint crash of rotten sticks and leaves under the cautious but unavoidably rending tread of a human foot” (165). The sound continues and the officers know that something is approaching them (166). With their instincts the two Englishmen pull out their weapons aiming out at the orchard consumed with the idea that they have been betrayed by Francois (166). The suspenseful scene of danger approaching is interrupted by Francois’s return (166-167). When the officers tell Francois about the noises they heard, Francois tells them that what they heard was “‘poor Babette, who tought I was gone to be kill. She scream so loud, as if she had seen my ghost’” (167) and the sound from the orchard ‘was my pigs,’ replied the Canadian, without manifesting the slightest uneasiness at the information” (168). While the officers are still suspicious, the conversation quickly changes, and the men are invited into Francois’s home to eat and rest for a little while (168).

Analysis and Themes

This first chapter illustrates an interaction between the Canadian figure named Francois and the English officers. More specifically, this chapter marks an interaction where not only do the officers come in contact with the unfamiliarity of Francois’s Canadian culture, but they are encountering an unfamiliar territory outside their fort as well. A key theme of this chapter involving disguise, is that people are not always who they say they are even if their physical appearances depict otherwise. In this text, physical appearances cannot be trusted. For example, the two English officers disguise themselves to match the appearance of the Canadian as the narrator states, “each, moreover, wore a false queue of about nine inches in length, the effect of which was completely to change the character of the countenance, and lend to the features a Canadian-like expression” (159-160). In this quotation, the narrator describes the physical appearance of the two officers mimicking a typical Canadian hairstyle to blend into the Canadian’s culture. Disguise is embedded in this chapter for the purpose of entering into Francois’s fort without anyone questioning the two British officers’ identities.

Another theme in Richardson’s novel is the idea that suspense and danger are rooted in the characters inability to control their situations, specifically when they are facing something or someone unknown. For example, when the two officers hear a noise approaching from the distance in the orchard, fear and danger is expressed by the narrator stating, “Each with uplifted arm now stood ready to strike, even while his heart throbbed with a sense of danger, that had far more than the mere dread of personal suffering or death” (166). In the quotation, the officers stand ready to face their enemy as one of the officer’s heart’s is described as palpitating more than when his heart would palpitate if he encountered suffering or death. The depiction of his pulsating heart illustrates the officer’s fear in the situation not being able to maintain control of what is happening.

[edit] Chapter 2

Key Events

In the second chapter of Wacousta the story continues with the two officers in François’s home (170). While examining the room they are given for the night both officers remove their disguises (171). The older officer looks to the window only to find a human face looking back at him from outside the hut (172). With feelings of panic and fear, the eldest officer tells the younger officer to first, cover his body in a hood to prevent his true identity from being revealed and second, look at the glass window (172-173). At first when the younger officer looks, he does not see what the older officer sees, however after directing his eyes a second time at a different angle he notices that “a human face was placed close to the unblemished glass, and every feature was distinctly revealed by the lamp that still lay upon the table” (174).

Both officers are horrified at what they have seen, and their minds begin to draw conclusions based on their anxiety and fear (174). The officer’s minds start to believe that their real identities have been exposed, that they “are betrayed” (172) once again, and that the face in the window was the man who is “alone the enemy of his own species” the one who attacked the British fort (175). While their panic rises François enters the room attempting to dissemble their anxiety seeing a man’s face in the window (177). François looks to see no face in the window (177). François attempts to reassure the men that they are safe, and immediately reminds the officers stating, “I have given my oat to serve you, and I shall do it” (177).

François then leads the men outside to a bridge asking the officers to stay hidden under the bridge while he goes to get his canoe located down the river (178). While the two men remain hidden, they hear a noise coming from on top of the bridge (178). The noise is described as footsteps that could either be of an animal or a human (178). One of the officers cautiously leaves their hiding spot to see what is on top of the bridge (179). To his surprise the officer sees a man and a wolf-dog coated in “the blood and brains of the unfortunate Frank Halloway” (179). Although the man’s name is not revealed by the narrator it is clear that the man standing in front of the officer is Wacousta. Wacousta shares a conversation with the officer predicting the time of the officer’s death (179). With danger present in the air the other officer interrupts their conversation and comes out of his hiding spot alarming Wacousta (179). The presence of the second officer entering in the scene makes Wacousta step back to reach for “his tomahawk, but without strength to remove it from his belt tottered a pace or two backwards—and then fell, uttering a cry of mingled pain and disappointment,” (180).

With Wacousta down, the officers’ attempt to go back to their hiding spot. However, Wacousta’s wolf-dog interferes with their actions (180). The officers end up getting a hold of the wolf-dog and with a knife they slice “across the throat of the infuriated beast,” (181). After killing the dog, the officers quickly return to their hiding spot under the bridge (181). The officers waiting anxiously are eventually picked up by François in his canoe and with everything that has happened François travels back to Fort Detroit to return both of the officers (181-182).

Analysis and Themes

The beginning of chapter two offers additional gothic elements alongside Ellen’s prophecy that is stated in volume one. The face in the window is depicted by the narrator as a mysterious person that illustrates danger and terror towards the characters. For example, when the first officer sees the face in the window the officer’s reaction is reported by the narrator, stating, “had a blast from Heaven struck his sight, the terror of his soul could not have been greater. He felt his cheek to pale, and his hair to bristle beneath his cap, while the checked blood crept slowly and coldly, as if it’s very function had been paralysed” (172). This quotation illustrates the description of the officer’s pale face with the hair underneath his cap sticking up, and the circulation of his blood slowing down as symptoms of fear and terror. The narrator depicts his reaction as though he has encountered something completely “alien” that is frightening.

An interesting theme in the novel involves the motif of the bridge. In Richardson’s novel the repeated references of the bridge acts as a meeting point where violence and anxiety occur. For example, in the first volume the bridge marks the location in which Frank Halloway is executed, this scene is presented in volume two stating, “It was the fatal bridge, the events connected with which were yet so painfully fresh in their recollection” (177). In this quotation, the narrator refers to the recent events that occurred on this bridge in the first volume drawing upon the bridge as a location where violence transpires. Furthermore, the bridge is presented in volume two chapter two, as a meeting place where anxiety prevails. For instance, when the two officers encounter Wacousta on the bridge “encrusted, the blood and brains of the unfortunate Frank Halloway” (179). In the second volume the bridge is represented once again as a location in which the officers have an anxious and violent interaction between themselves and Wacousta.

The depiction of environment plays an important role in this chapter as well specifically referring to the garrison mentality in which the idea of nature in Canada particularly the wilderness is depicted as terrifying instead of being depicted as beautiful and peaceful. The change in environment in this chapter transitioning from inside the fort to being outside the fort at the bridge presents the idea that the depiction of environment validates a particular colonial logic of European superiority over the Indigenous people. The environment of inside Francois’s fort is categorized as safe and protective from the dangerous outdoors, while the environment of wilderness outside where the Indigenous people live is categorized as a space that contains savage-like terror. The mentality of the Indigenous people’s environment reflecting fear and terror reinforces a European colonial logic that English fort settlements are a superior standard of civilization.

[edit] Chapter 3

Key Events

Back at the fort, “the garrison were once more summoned to arms (...) A body of Indians they had traced and lost at intervals (...) were at length developing themselves in force near the bombproof. With a readiness which long experience and watchfulness had rendered in some degree habitual to the English soldiers, the troops flew to their respective posts” (183). The Indians come without war paint “nor were their arms of a description to carry intimidation to a disciplined and fortified soldiery” (183). Several of the English leaders were collected within the elevated bomb-proof, holding a short but important conference apart from their men. The men converse about a previous encounter with Ponteac, the Ottawa chief. An artilleryman shouts from his station that the Indians are preparing to show a white flag, “a truce in all its bearings” (185). Captain Erskine remarks on how Ponteac has acquired lessons since their previous encounter. The garrison is suspicious of this action, unsure as to how the Indians recognized this symbolization of peace, it seems to be of European nature, a civilized method. Captain Wentworth finds relief in their counter-plot to oppose a sudden attack. The large French flag is drawn.

The governor greets the Indians and engages in conversation with Ponteac. The Indians come in search for peace and to bury the war hatchet that has been stricken. The garrison questions the true intentions of peace, while Ponteac expresses the shame in the blood drawn over their feud. The governor accepts this proposal, however, peace can only be made in the council room, and “the great chief has a wampum belt on his shoulder and a calumet in his hand. His warriors, too, at his side” (189). The chief worries of the mediated treachery upon entry to the fort.

They prepare to enter the fort, throwing themselves into the hands of the Saganaw. The governor expresses that within the walls of peace, the Saganaw is ever open to them, but when the Indian warriors press it with the tomahawk in their hands, the big thunder is roused to anger. Captain Blessington is ordered to take vigilant caution, although no harm should be brought against the fort with their chief in their possession. “The noble-looking Ponteac trod the yielding planks that might in the next moment cut him off from his people forever. The other chiefs, following the example of their leader, evinced the same easy fearlessness of demeanour, nor glanced once behind them to see if there was anything to justify the apprehension of hidden danger” (192). As they advanced into the square, they looked around, expecting to behold the full array of their enemies; but, to their astonishment, not a soldier was to be seen. The chief meets the gaze of the governor.


This chapter relates to themes of contact and nation-building. As this novel as a whole navigates Settler and Indigenous relationships, this chapter in particular is a moment where we see the British and the Natives come together to evolve their complex and fragmented relationship. In past chapters, we have been dealing with violent encounters between bodies, but this section conveys as a shift, an effort to bury the war hatchet that has been stricken.

[edit] Chapter 4

Key Events

The Indians enter the council room and take "their seats upon the matting in the order prescribed by their rank among the tribes” (195), and proceeded to fill the pipe of peace. The governor and the Ottawa chief engage in conversation of the deceit and trickery used by both the Ottawa tribes and the Sanagaw upon the peacemaking ceremony. Both parties are rehashing history that formed this distrustful relationship that currently stands. They have diverging perceptions of past encounters, including the initiation of violence, betrayal, and fractured friendships.

The governor tauntingly questions the absence of the great pale warrior, who we know to be Wacosuta, to cause an upset among the Indians. The Ottawa chief accounts for his absence, as his voice can not speak, and he begins to accuse the Saganaw of sending spies to invade Indian territory. He shares the story of finding Onondato whose throat the spies of the Saganaw had cut, found upon near death on the bridge consequent to hearing a war call. Frequent glances, “expressive of their deep interest in the announcement of this word, passed between the governor and his officers” (201), as they made the connection to their two dispatched soldiers. The Ottawa chief remarks that the warrior of the pale face, and the friend of the Ottawa chief, is sick, but not dead. “He lies without motion in his tent, and his voice cannot speak to his friend to tell him who were his enemies, that he may bring their scalps to hang up within his wigwam. But the pale warrior will soon be well, and his arm will be stronger than ever to spill the blood of the Saganaw as he has done before” (202).

The governor questions the intentions of this ceremony, as it is one of peace, but such violence and revenge are alluded to in future contact. The Ottawa chief responded that the Ottawa and the Saganaw have not yet smoked together. When they have, the hatchet will be buried forever. “Until then, they are still enemies” (202).

“The Ottawa passed the pipe of ceremony, with which he was provided, to the governor. The latter put it to his lips, and commenced smoking. The Indians keenly, and half furtively, watched the act; and looks of deep intelligence, that escaped not the notice of the equally anxious and observant officers, passed among them” (204). The governor observes the pipe, and all its “ornaments are red like blood: it is the pipe of war, and not the pipe of peace” (204). He demands the Ottawa must come again. The Ottawa agrees, and there was “nothing to indicate the slightest doubt of their sincerity” (205). The Ottawa chief expresses his embarrassment, and claims that upon their next gathering, they will come with no armor, clothing, or weapons, they will be accompanied by their women and children, to show the Sangaw full trust and entry without fear.

The governor requests the presence of the pale warrior, to join in the peacemaking ceremony, to which the chief responds with hesitation, for the pale warrior is extremely ill, but should the Great Spirits accelerate his recovery, the governor’s request will be granted.

Ponteac suggests they gather again in three days time, when the governor responds that this is too soon, for the Sanagaw needs time to collect their presents, and the pale warrior needs time to recover. They agree to make peace in six days time. “The whole body again moved off in the direction of their encampment” (207).


This chapter prominently features themes of trickery motivated by cultural gain. The British see through the Ottawas kind of treachery by presenting a “pipe of war, and not the pipe of peace” (204), and counter trickery of their own. What appears to be an honest attempt of friendship and a “truce in all its bearings” (185), really proves to be ill-intentioned. When the chiefs trickery was spoiled, the initial attempt still allowed the Ottawa to infiltrate the fort and gather the information that will prepare them for their next gathering, and mislead the British in assuring them that no arms will accompany them, in hopes that perhaps the fort would disassemble their men. In this section, disguise can be seen in a metaphorical sense in that the chief is hiding his true intentions for the ceremony because he comes bearing the pipe of war. The Indigenous warriors on accounts of Wacousta want revenge for the land colonized by the British, but also want to assert their presence and defend the land and nature of their ancestral roots. They devise plans involving trickery to bring them closer to these desires. The fort foils these plans with the trickery of their own, downplaying their intelligence on the matter to secure their power status.

[edit] Chapter 5

Key Events

Chapter five occurs in the week’s span between the events of the first visit of the Indian chiefs to the fort and the second meeting that the English had with the Indian chiefs (208).

The chapter expresses the depressed mood from the officers as their lives become consumed with constant bloodshed (208-209). At this point the officers are given awareness that the second council meeting is approaching, and that a violent disaster could possibly ensue (209). While all of the officers are feeling this dejection upon their shoulders, there was one distinct soldier “who exhibited a dejection, degenerating almost into stupefaction; and more than once, when he received an order from his superior,…in attempting to perform it, mistook the purport of his instructions, and executed some entirely different duty” (209). It is noted that “several times, … he was seen to raise his head, and throw forward his ear, as if expecting to catch the echo of some horrible and appalling cry,” (209). The officer’s actions were being observed through the recounts of “where the Indians were supposed to lie, down to the bridge on which the terrible tragedy of Halloway’s death had been so recently enacted” (210). The officer acting in this behaviour is finally revealed as Charles de Haldimar.

Captain Blessington shares a conversation with Charles speaking about Charles’ depressive state of mind as a weakness of his nature condemning his actions. Blessington goes on to justify his concern stating, “I would not have them to believe that one of their officers was affected by the anticipation of coming disaster, in a way their own hearts are incapable of estimating” (211). The conversation continues in which Blessington tries to convince Charles to stop acting depressed and cowardly. Blessington resorts to his reasoning to stop Charles' “agitation” (212) for his “sister’s sake” (212) but it still does not work as Charles claims that “all hope has long since been extinct within my breast” (212). Charles then recounts the death of Frank Halloway that took place in volume one. In detail, Charles describes when “the terrible shriek, uttered at the moment when the fugitive fell, apparently dead, at the feet of the firing party, reached us even here. I felt as if my heart must have burst, for I knew it to be the shriek of poor Ellen Halloway,—the suffering wife,—” (212-213).

Charles continues on to recount the disorientation of the trauma that consumes him. He admits to his emotion as “childish” (213) and “unsoldierlike” (213), but express that the “dreadful scene is eternally before *his* eyes, and absorbs *his* mind, to the exclusion of every other feeling” (213). Charles questions his ability to find strength in his deep despair. Captain Blessington is affected by Charles’ grief, and shows his empathy, trying to convince him of the heart-rendering effects felt on many who witness this scene. Charles remains accepting.

Charles worries for his adored sister Clara, and wonder “what had she done to be included in this terrible curse (215) ” who had “treated Ellen Halloway rather as a sister” (215). Blessing tells Charles that “this immoderate grief is wrong—it is unmanly, and should be repressed” (215). Charles takes great offence to this, and Blessington immediately apologizes, for he comes and listens as a friend, he asks for Charles’ forgiveness. Charles expresses that he is more wretched than he is willing to confess (216). Blessington continues to offer comfort.

Charles' anxiety worsens without knowing the fate of the two dispatched soldiers, as “more than a week has gone by since they left the fort, and a less period was deemed sufficient for their purpose” (216), and Ponteac had revealed their encounter with the ale warrior on the bridge. Blessington reminds Charles that the pale warrior is ill in his tent, and they can infer the safety of their two friends and soldiers.

“A gleam of satisfaction, but so transient as to be scarcely noticeable, passed over the pale features of the youthful De Haldimar. He looked his thanks to the kind officer who was thus solicitous to tender him consolation (217)”. At this moment, “the word was passed along the chain of sentinels, upon the ramparts, that the Indians were issuing in force from the forest upon the common near the bomb-proof” (217-218). The Indians had arrived at the fort earlier than taught to expect, but Blessignton expresses the fort's readiness to receive them now. Blessington urges Charles to put on an artificial character and join him in welcoming the Indians into the fort. Charles still worries for the fate of his dearest Clara. Blessington tells him, “let us arm our hearts with hope” (218). They go silently to the below rampart.

Analysis and Themes

In chapter five, masculinity as favourable over femininity is a predominant theme shown throughout the chapter through the character Charles. Charles is the one male character in the book who voluntarily shows a great deal of emotion. As a man and a soldier, showing a lot of emotion is seen as unmasculine and rather feminine to the men in the book. When Charles begins crying as he is recalling Halloway’s death, Blessington tells him, “There are men observing you on every side, and your strange manner has already been the subject of remark in the company” (210). Blessington's tone is clearly judgemental as he watches Charles cry. He refers to Charles' emotions as “strange” which shows that he is confused as to why Charles is showing these feminine emotions. Blessington is presumably embarrassed for Charles.

[edit] Chapter 6

Key Events

Chapter six begins with a white flag being raised by the Indians upon arrival to the bomb-proof. “On this occasion, they were without arms, offensive or defensive of any kind” (219). Between the unity of nations of the Ottawas, Delawares, and the Shawanees, these warriors might have been five-hundred in number. “Their bodies, necks, and arms were, with the exceptions of a few slight ornaments, entirely naked” (219). Each individual was presented with a stout sampling as an offering of peace and mutual cooperation. Accompanying the Indian warriors were an equal number of squaws. Thrown around their person was blankets, and “there was an air of constraint in their movements, which accorded ill with an occasion of festivity for which they were assembled” (220).

When it had been made known to the governor that the Indians come bearing no identifiable weaponry or defence, the soldiers were dismissed from their respective companies to the ramparts, now collected together in careless groups. This gestural disassembly was acknowledged “by the Indians by marks of approbation” (221).

The lack of soldiery in the is fort satisfactory, and “Ponteac, in particular, expressed the deepest exultation”(222). He fell behind his tribe, taking up the rear when he falls and meets the Earth. Ponteac signalled his safety. Upon entrance to the theatre of conference, the Indian chiefs noticed how the theatre seems enlarged with the absence of soldiers.

After greeting and engaging in conversation with the governor, the Ottawa chief “commenced filling the pipe of peace, correct on the present occasion with all its ornaments” (224). The absence of the pale warrior is acknowledged, he is still unwell and unable to join the ceremony, though his tongue is “full of wisdom” (224) but without speech.

Suddenly, “a wild, shrill cry from without the fort rang on the ears of the assembled council” (224), one to which all recognized as a signal of war. At this cry, the Indians tomahawks were brandished wildly over their heads and Ponteac bounded a pace forward to reach the governor with the deadly weapon, when, “at the sudden stamping of the foot of the latter upon the floor (...) twenty soldiers met the startled gaze of the astonished Indians” (225). Ponteac was astonished in the presence of prepared soldiers. This assured him of the dangers of their treachery that awaited him and his people. The once seemingly naked fort was flooded with hostile preparation. The Indians were “paralyzed in their movements by the unlooked-for display of a resisting force, threatening instant annihilation to those who should attempt to advance or to recede” (226). “The fall of Ponteac had been the effect of the design; and the yell pealed forth by him, on recovering his feet, as if in taunting reply to the laugh of his comrades, was in reality a signal intended for the guidance of the Indians without.” (227), The women and girls too were prepared, as they pulled back their dress and each had a tomahawk and short gun.

The governor orders for his soldiers to stand firm, but on high alert. "The pale face, the friend of the great chief of the Ottawas"(232) swiftly throws his tomahawk at the first impulse of his heart at Colonel De Haldimar, but changes his course as he redirects his aim. He wants revenge, and will not be robbed of the satisfaction as his own death would follow. The governor claims that “the Sanagaw is not a fool, and he can read the thoughts of his enemies upon their faces, and long before their lips have spoken” (231). “The Saganaw knew that they carried deceit in their hearts, and that they never meant to smoke the pipe of peace, or to bury the hatchet in the ground” (232). The governor claims that the Sanagaw does not betray their promises, which is why he will let them live, and go in peace, for he wishes to show the Ottawa the desire of the Sanagaw is to be friendly with Indians, and not to harm them. However, Ponteac claims that “the Ottawa is not a fool to believe the Sanagaw can sleep without revenge” (232). The fort disassembles, and the Indians immerse “once more into the heart of the forest (...) , the gate of the fort again firmly secured” (233).

Analysis and Themes

The concept of the garrison mentality is evidenced in this chapter. Despite the promises between the garrison and the Natives to pursue peaceful relations, and although the Indians assured their visit would be made in full trust of the fort, the garrison still distrusted the forest and the wilderness of Native terrain. The fort was still densely armed with its soldiers and fatal weapons, prepared for “instant annihilation” (226), “which accorded ill with an occasion of festivity of peace for which they were assembled” (220). This prepared soldiery embodies the deeply rooted fear and distrust of the wilderness and its people, creating the panicked-driven soldiery of officers in the fort. The British consider the wilderness to be dangerous because of the unknown nature of the ‘wild’ humans who are one with the land, an unexplored and foreign space. The wilderness, and the sense of danger that pervades it, helps to justify the civilizing force and prepared soldiery of the garrison. Confronted with the novelty of this new world they invaded, they anticipate deceit and danger in every shadow.

Examples of disguise, misrecognition, and deception used in this chapter, including the seemingly naked bodies of the Indians, their civilized and unarmed approaches, and the discharged British soldiers, speaks to a breakdown and distrust in visual cues. Nothing appears to be as it seems, there are ulterior motives that are working and reworking these Indigenous-Settler relationships. Disguise in this chapter helps the cultural other to infiltrate and advance their agenda. The Indigenous tribes came seemingly “without arms, offensive or defensive of any kind” (219), which allowed them to permeate the fort and bring them closer to execute their plan to depose their British rivals. In this same instance, the Natives learn the true nature of the British and the dangers of their treachery that awaited him and his people. The British use disguise to create the illusion of friendship and trust, when in reality, an impenetrable force was assembled, ready for battle should it arise. A deep-seated fear of the cultural other drives this Indigenous-Settler relationship, disrupting trust in visual cues and prevents peace from being achieved.

[edit] Chapter 7

Key Events

This chapter focuses on the departure of Captain de Haldimar from the fort for the purpose of discovering the schemings of the Indigenous peoples, this history relates to the unfortunate end of Halloway and Donellan’s demise while revealing the true nature of the events that transpired that night and for their significance to the events that followed after. Captain de Haldimar and Donnellan, his servant, meet secretly with an Ottawa woman named Oucanasta outside the fort at night. Captain de Haldimar and Donellan exchange clothing and despite his protests, Donellan is left behind to wait for his superior to return. On the order of Captain de Haldimar, if he does not return within an hour, he is to return to the fort, remove the rope at the gate, close it, and return the keys. Captain de Haldimar insists that everything must be as it was before Halloway, who was on guard when Captain de Haldimar departed, allowed him to pass. Captain de Haldimar tells his subordinate that if he does not return, his father must be made aware of the schemes of the Indigenous to overtake the fort, however that it must be done in a way that does not reveal the actions of either his subordinate or Halloway, for fear of them being reprimanded. Captain de Haldimar follows Oucanasta to the encampment of the Indigenous. Oucanasta draws Captain de Haldimar into the hollow of a tree where from within he can watch the meeting of the chiefs to discover their plans to seize the fort. From the interior of the beech tree, Captain de Haldimar is left by Oucanasta to watch the meeting of twenty to thirty Indigenous chiefs, one revealed to be Ponteac. The chiefs, waiting for the arrival of another, hear a commotion of gunfire in the distance, and are soon joined by another warrior, Wacousta. Wacousta carries a tomahawk covered in blood, and produces a scalp that he claims belongs to Captain de Haldimar himself. Exchanges between Ponteac and Wacousta provoke another, younger chief to challenge Wacousta by the mention of Oucanasta’s feelings for Captain de Haldimar, revealed to be the sister of one of the chiefs, but this interaction is quickly interrupted by Ponteac, who calms the situation. From his hiding place, Captain de Haldimar realizes that Donellan, his subordinate, wearing the Captain’s clothing and waiting the return of his superior, has been killed in his stead. Ponteac reveals his plans to invade and capture the remaining forts of Michilimackinac and Detroit. Ponteac discusses the seizing these forts as vital for ending the conflict between the two nations, the disadvantage of which includes the abandonment of their hunting grounds and the breakdown in trade negotiations, leaving the Indigenous people without valued goods. In addition to these, their status among the English would be elevated for being more than a defeated people to suffer dishonour and degradation. The plan is to make a request for peace with their European enemies, arranging a meeting with the occupants of the fort while also organizing a game of “ball-playing” to cover the invasion into the fort by way of a runaway ball. The women would carry their weapons hidden, and use them to murder all within. Once the meeting has concluded with the approval amongst its members, in particular the warrior Wacousta, the chiefs disperse and the only two continuing a conversation being Ponteac and Wacousta in low voices with one producing a piece of rope and a boot.

Analysis and Themes

This chapter offers insight into the effects of the conflict between the English and the Indigenous people from the perspective of the latter and furthermore reveals the intentions behind their actions. The focus of this chapter is not only to provide background for subsequent events but to reflect the differing perspective of the Indigenous objectives. This is evident by the reasoning that is discussed by Ponteac for their plans, “He pointed out the tediousness of the warfare in which they were engaged…”(193). It is significant to note the themes of “the other” that are tackled in this chapter with the inclusion of the meeting of the chiefs, the distinctly opposing sides of conflict and the interaction between the two. The intent of the attacks to be and their motivations reveal the struggle to accept their status as "the other" and rival the European attitude for their standing, “…; while, instead of being treated with the indignity of a conquered people, they would be enabled to command respect from the imposing attitude this final crowning of their successes would enable them to assume”(193-194).

[edit] Chapter 8

Key Events

This chapter continues the mission of Captain de Haldimar and his unfortunate capture as well as providing more background detail to the layout of the plans of the seizing of the two English forts. Hearing the well laid out plan of the Indigenous tribes to seize both forts, Michilimackinac and Detroit, and slaughter all within, it is revealed that communication between the two has been halted by their enemies. He notes that the two warriors, Ponteac and Wacousta, had in their possession the rope and his boot that had been discarded previously, but he does not overhear their conversation. Captain de Haldimar reflects on the importance of his return to the fort to detail the attack that is soon to come as peace with the Indigenous tribes has been sought after and desired by the English to end the warfare. Not only this, but his sister Clara as well as his cousin and bride, Madeline de Haldimar remained at the other fort which was to soon be attacked also as part of their enemies’ plan. Anxious to return to the fort and reveal the plans of the Indigenous tribes, Captain de Haldimar is about to set out alone when Oucanasta returns to take him back along the path. Oucanasta leads him a ways until they pause to take a breath and Oucanasta confronts Captain de Haldimar with her feelings for him since the time he saved her from drowning some months before. She admits that she understands there is a connection between Madeline de Haldimar and him and that she has tried to move past these feelings and desires but has been unable to do so. Captain de Haldimar confirms her suspicions that he is to be married to Madeline de Haldimar and that he loves her very much, but that she is located at the other fort, separated from him about to be killed, should the plan of the Indigenous tribes be carried out. Captain de Haldimar pleads with her to go to the other fort and inform them of the tribe’s plans, so that his sister and Madeline may be saved. Oucanasta agrees that she will try to reach the fort and save those that Captain de Haldimar loves. In a moment of gratitude for her willingness to once again help him, the Captain kisses Oucanasta, the force of which causes her to fall into the shrubbery around them, making noise and drawing those from the camp to pursue them. Oucanasta has Capatin de Haldimar continue ahead without her so that it will appear that she is the only one on the path, saving the Captain from discovery. However, when Captain de Haldimar reaches the waterway and attempts to jump across, he becomes trapped by a canoe placed in his way purposefully. It becomes evident that someone had placed the canoe there after his passage previously to slow the retreat of the Captain de Haldimar. He chooses to flee in a completely different direction and hides in the environment. No longer hearing the voices of his enemies and being convinced they had given up the search he begins to emerge from his hiding place when he is discovered and captured before he is able to fire his weapon. He is escorted back to the Indigenous camp.

Analysis and Themes

The theme of human connection defying all racial and circumstantial context is present in this chapter with the romantic confession by Oucanasta and her endeavour to understand and selflessly respect the feelings present between Captain de Haldimar and Madeline. The relationship between Oucanasta and Captain de Haldimar is one reflective of humanity and emotional boundlessness. Captain de Haldimar rescues Oucanasta, an Indigenous woman and relies on her and trusts her despite her background and their two peoples being embroiled in war, “What would he not have given for the presence of Oucanasta, who was so capable of advising him in this difficulty!…” (202). On Oucanasta’s part, she has feelings for a man whose country is culpable for the conquest of her own, and bears responsibility for many of the deaths of her own people, “Of his own safe return to the fort he entertained not a doubt; for he knew and relied on the Indian woman, who was bound to him by a tie of gratitude, which her conduct that night evidently denoted to be superior even to the interests of her race” (199). Still she helps him, and even promises to try to save de Haldimar’s future bride, who is in competition for the affections of the man she loves,”'Oucanasta is but a weak woman, and her feet are not swift like those of a runner among the red skins; but what the Saganaw asks, for his sake she will try. When she has seen him safe to his own fort, she will go and prepare herself for the journey. The pale girl shall lay her head on the bosom of the Saganaw, and Oucanasta will try to rejoice in her happiness’” (201). The humanness of Oucanasta’s character and the mutual relationship between these two seeks to reveal the opportunity to overcome racial differences and instead see only similarities between those considered the “other.”

[edit] Chapter 9

Key Events Captured and returned to the camp he had just escaped, Captain de Haldimar is now confronted by Wacousta. Captain de Haldimar realizes this warrior, Wacousta, is in actuality European. Speaking English as fluently as a native and having admittedly served among the French, a past meeting between the two is recalled at the battle of the plains of Abraham. Realizing the identity of his captive, Wacousta reveals a deep hatred of any of the de Haldimar family for a reason specifically pertaining to Captain de Haldimar’s father. Questioning the reason for his appearance in the woods at night, near to the camp of the Indigenous, Captain de Haldimar claims an amorous meeting with Oucanasta. However, not believing this, Wacousta questions Captain de Haldimar to his plans to spy on the meeting of the chiefs but de Haldimar denies this. Wacousta tells Captain de Haldimar that he had himself snuck into the fort by using the rope de Haldimar had left at the gate when leaving the garrison and confronted de Haldimar’s father promising him retribution. Wacousta reveals his intention to murder Captain de Haldimar and return his badly treated body to his father for revenge. Although Wacousta, amidst others of the tribe, seems poised to kill Captain de Haldimar, they are halted by Ponteac and a discussion among himself and the other chiefs lead to Captain de Haldimar being tied to the tree from which he had watched the meeting of the chiefs and guarded by members of the tribe. Wacousta and other warriors depart from the camp and a battle between the two enemies is heard in the distance. Eventually, members of the tribe return with dead warriors and bury them in the earth, the hatred of the tribe towards de Haldimar and his people is felt by him during these events. With the commotion surrounding the approach of soldiers from the fort, Oucanasta’s brother is able to make his way to the bound de Haldimar and undo his restraints. He admits that for his dislike of Wacousta he is helping de Haldimar to escape directing him towards the advance of the English. Disguised in Indigenous paint and blankets he manages to deceive Wacousta and the other warriors in the camp, making his way to the front line of the Indigenous warriors. Captain de Haldimar manages to run for freedom after the escape of his captive has Wacousta chasing de Haldimar.

Analysis and Themes

The theme of loyalty is present in both this chapter and the previous. It is directly questioned by Captain de Haldimar of Wacousta for his treacherous abandonment of his English background and furthermore of his military efforts in favour of the French, “'If you are in reality a French officer,’ he said, 'and not an Englishman, as your accent would denote, the sentiments you have now avowed may well justify the belief, that you have been driven with ignominy from a service which your presence must eternally have disgraced. There is no country in Europe that would willingly claim you for its subject’” (206). The theme of loyalty is further proven through the efforts of Oucanasta and her brother to save Captain de Haldimar at the cost to their people and, in turn, the loyalty and dependence of Captain Haldimar to Oucanasta when lying to say her from punishment by her own tribe, “The very observation that had just been made afforded him a final hope of exculpation, which, if it benefited not himself, might still be of service to the generous Oucanasta” (208).

[edit] Chapter 10

Key Events

Chapter ten begins with an introduction of fort Michillimackinac. It is described as a less powerful fort compared to Detroit, “Constructed on a smaller scale, and garrisoned by a less numerical force…” (285). The setting of the scene is described in detail in this chapter. There are two Indigenous villages nearby hidden by trees, a lake nearby where you can see canoes, and an eerie forest which emphasizes the garrison mentality in this chapter. The author states that before the attack, a vessel had arrived with letters from fort Detroit. After the author explains there had been several “surprise” (287) attempts to attack the fort from the Indigenous, the garrison is described as being ready for any attack. Although the garrison may be ready for an attack, it is not ready for the “rigour of cold,- all the miseries of hunger…” (288) as well as “numerous bands of Indians...” (288 ). Due to all of these risks, the officer had planned an escape from the garrison and their goal was to make their way to New York to colonize land. This escape plan is the only other option other than death. As night fell, a boat was sent to shore to give necessary supplies to the fort.

The chapter then goes on to explain the fort. The fort had many block houses with one sitting higher with a large view. The house had two staircases, “the principal leading to the front entrance from the barrack-square, the other opening in the rear…” (291). Another room where official duties were made, and on the ground floor, and another large room. The upper floor was for Clara. The furniture and decor on this floor is described in-depth as well as the presents in the room which were gifted to the British before the war. The room was a mix of Indigenous and European design, “Upon the walls were hung numerous specimens both of the dress and of the equipment of the savages…” (292).

After the description, the scene changes to the morning of the second meeting with chiefs. Clara de Haldimar is the opening letter. She is characterized as extremely beautiful. Madeline is also characterized, but not as beautifully as Clara. The chapter also mentions that Frederick, who is Madeline's cousin, loves her and they are arranged to marry. Middleton and Baynton later approach the girls and begin poking fun at Middleton finding beauty in an Indigenous woman. After the two men walk off Clara remembers her dinner plans and says she doesn't want to eat dinner with chiefs as the thought disgusts her. She states, “I feel that I could not so far overcome my disgust as to sit at the same table as them” (301).

Analysis and Themes

One predominant theme of this chapter is the idea that civilization is more favourable to the settlers than the wilderness because of the unknown. This theme is also known as the garrison mentality. When fort Michilimackinac is described, the forest around the fort is described with a tone that it is alarming and unsettling. Richardson states, “Here and there, along the imperfect clearing,and amid the dark and thickly studded stumps of the felled trees, which in themselves were sufficient enough to give the most lugubrious character to the scene…” (285). Richardson describes the wilderness as sad and scary because he knows the British are so inexperienced with the Canadian climate and their enemies live in the nature that surrounds them. Another theme of this chapter is that the strongest will always conquer the weak. When looking at the strength of the garrison compared to the power of the Indigenous people and the weather it was clear to see that the fort stood no chance between these two things. Richardson states, “Constructed on a smaller scale, and garrisoned by a less numerical force…” (285) and “A few months more bring with them all the severity of the winter of those climes…” (288). Fort Michilimackinac is clearly in danger of many outside factors. Although the soldiers are still able to protect the garrison, in the end, the strongest will come out first which in this case, seems to be everything but the fort.

[edit] Chapter 11

Key Events

The chapter opens up with a description of the lake Clara and Madeline are on. As the women were sailing through the lake they noticed a beaver-like animal and were very curious of what it could have been. All of the sudden, an Indigenous man came out of the water and climbs into their boat, “Scarcely had he settle himself in his new position, when, to the infinite horror of the excited cousins, a naked human hand was raised from beneath the surface of the lake…” (305) . As the man got on the boat he began searching around his belt for something which terrified the cousins to a greater extent. After the commotion, Clara and Madeline go to warn her father and Baynton of the danger. As they entered the apartment, they heard a possible war cry, “Already were they descending the first steps, when a loud cry, that sent a thrill of terror through their blood, was heard from without the fort” (306-307). Clara noticed the guards surrounding the fort, unbothered, standing with their wives and children on duty. This removed anxiety from Clara. All of a sudden, a war-cry had sounded again and the Indigenous people had come into the fort. It was complete chaos in the fort as the murders began, “but these every where met death from the crashing tomahawk, short rifle, or gleaming knife” (309). Many British were shot by their own because of the confusion and children, women, and men were all murdered.

Clara noticed they had entered the main floor of the block house and heard Madeline scream. As Clara ran back to the window, she witnessed Madeline get dragged away covered in blood by an Indigenous person, “A tall savage was bearing off the apparent lifeless form of her cousin through the combatants in the square…” (311). All of a sudden, Captain Baynton had run into Clara's room to protect her. He was covered in blood but was able to grab Clara and put her in a safe spot in a different room. Baynton comes up with an escape plan to leave the rear of the fort and enacts it. As they are escaping they hear that people have broken into the bedroom already. Unfortunately, Clara passed out again so Baynton had to hold her while escaping. As Baynton gets to the shore with Clara, he has to wade out to the boat but Indigenous men are chasing him with guns, “as the Indians came on they fired deliberately at them, but both missed their aim” (316). The tired Baynton throws Clara on the boat sacrificing himself. As the boat rows away multiple Indigenous people attempt to get on the boat only to be killed by the cutlass.

Analysis and Themes

A major theme of chapter eleven is seeking revenge against those who have betrayed you. This revenge is shown through the Indigneous people as they go into the fort and begin killing the British soldiers, wives, and children. Richardson states, “but these every where met death from the crashing tomahawk, short rifle, or gleaming knife” (309). The Indigenous have come into the fort to kill for revenge for multiple reasons. It is clear that the relations between the Indigenous and British are not peaceful mainly because the British do not treat the Indigenous people kindly and have begun to colonize their land. This scene of revenge also ties into the theme that the strong will always conquer the weak. This is shown through the mentality of the Indigenous people before the attack compared to soldiers who were not expecting an attack. When Clara looks out of the window after hearing a call, Richardson states, “The ramparts were covered with soldiers, who, armed merely with their bayonets stood grouped in careless attitudes (307-309). The British soldiers mentality before the attack was not as strong as the Indigenous people which is why they were able to conquer the fort so easily. Finally, the last theme in this chapter would be that there is a difference between love and sacrifice. Bayton loves Clara, but clearly, on a deeper level. He loves her so much he is able to sacrifice his life for hers which gives a new meaning to the word love. When Clara passes out, Bayton has to bring Clara to safety. As he gets to the boat Richardson states, “as with a desperate effort he threw the light form of the still conscious girl into the arms of one of the young men” (316-317). Bayton had loved Clara so much he gave the ultimate sacrifice of his life which is greater than any love.

[edit] Chapter 12

Key Events

Chapter twelve opens on the setting of a boat. Clara De Haldimar is reintroduced sleeping on the boat when she wakes up to her brother sitting next to her. Both Frederick and her are wondering where Madeline is and what has happened to her stating, “‘Where is Madeline? Where is my cousin?’” (322). Clara is grieving and her brother and her are discussing where Madeline could be when in a change of mood, Frederick announces Madeline is likely still alive. Frederick acknowledges Valletort stating that they saw Madeline, “‘She it was indeed whom we saw borne out of the fort, and subsequently made to walk by the cruel Indian who had charge of her’” (324). Unfortunately, after this positive news, Frederick goes on to break the unfortunate news to Clara that Baynton had not survived and had sacrificed himself for Clara's life “‘Alas! Clara, poor Baynton is no more” (324). Frederick leaves and puts Valletort in charge of taking care of Clara while he goes to look for Madeline.

The scene changes and De Haldimar is having a conversation with Mullins when he explains an Indigenous man tried to kill Jack Fuller that morning “‘Why, that ‘ere Ingian, your honour, as began the butchery in the fort, yonder, by trying to kill Jack Fuller while he laid asleep this morning…” (327). The Indigenous man is now a threat to the boat. Captain De Hadimar gets the crew to bring him the Indigenous man but De Haldimar recognizes him as someone familiar but he can not quite decipher who. Jack Fuller explains he saw him with a piece of paper and when they examine it, “They were addressed to Major De Haldimar, and briefly stated that a treacherous plan was in contemplation by the enemy to surprise the fort... “ (330). He then has a flashback to the night he was in danger on the log and realizes the young Indigenous man is the one who saved him from Wacousta. The brother of Oucanasta was trying to communicate with the fort so when he saw the boat with the girls on it, he saw his opportunity. His actions were taken the wrong way as the women believed he was trying to kill them when in actuality, he was trying to warn them. Due to this, De Haldimar granted the Indigenous man freedom to leave the boat. All of a sudden the man let out a cry and points to the water. The crew turned and saw a canoe with a tall human figure. The human in the canoe hopped onto the boat and miraculously disappeared.

Analysis and Themes

A predominant theme in this chapter would be the difference between morality and feeling genuine empathy for someone. This is shown when De Haldimar lets Oucanasta’s brother out of captivity on the boat because he saved his life. Richardson states, “explaining at the same time the very natural error into which the sailor had fallen, and concluding with a declaration that he was free to quit the vessel in the canoe in which himself was about to take departure for the shore…” (332). De Haldimar letting Oucanasta’s brother free is a rather small payoff for saving his life. It's hard to believe that De Haldimar feels genuine empathy for Indigenous people because he is at war with them and refers to them as savages. Another theme shown in this chapter which is demonstrated throughout the book is the theme of revenge to those who have done you wrong. This is shown when the man comes onto the boat and scares everyone on board. Richardson states, “No sooner, however, had he secured his footing, when with another desperate leap, and greatly to the astonishment of all around, he bounded once more to the deck of the schooner, his countenance exhibiting every mark of superstitious alarm” (335). The reader knows the Indigenous are out for revenge and intend to cause chaos. Specifically, Wacousta had already captured and attempted to kill De Haldimar so the reader can assume the man on the boat may be Wacousta trying to seek revenge again.

[edit] Works Cited

Fort Michilimackinac-Fort Michilimackinac Historic Reenactment Pageant. Crazycrow, Accessed 14 June 2020.

Fort Shelby/Fort Detroit. Military History of the Upper Great Lakes, Accessed 14 June 2020.

McCrea, Harold. Wacousta or, The Prophecy: A Tale of the Canadas. 1987. Goodreads, Accessed 14 June 2020.

Pontiac’s Rebellion. 1763. Thinglink, Accessed 14 June 2020.

Remington, Frederic. The Siege of Fort Detroit. 1861-1909. Wikipedia, Accessed 14 June 2020.

Richardson, John. Wacousta or, The Prophecy: A Tale of the Canadas. Edited by Douglas Richard Cronk, Carleton University Press, 1987.

Richardson, John. Wacousta, vol. 3.1, McClelland and Stewart, 2014. Kindle ed., Penguin Random House Canada, Incorp.

Visit of Pontiac and the Indians to Major Gladwin. Ohio History Central, Accessed 14 June 2020.

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