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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang online

The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang


In spite of the spirit's commands, Inverawe remained true to his promise, and returned next day to Macniven with fresh provisions. That night his foster-brother again appeared to him uttering the same warning: "Inverawe, Inverawe, shield not the murderer; blood must flow for blood". At daybreak Inverawe hurried off to the cave, and said to Macniven: "I can shield you no longer; you must escape as best you can". Inverawe now hoped to receive no further visit from the vengeful spirit. In this he was disappointed, for at the usual hour the ghost appeared, and in anger said, "I have warned you once, I have warned you twice; it is too late now. We shall meet again at TICONDEROGA."

Inverawe rose before dawn and went straight to the cave. Macniven was gone!

Inverawe saw no more of the ghost, but the adventure left him a gloomy, melancholy man. Many a time he would wander on Cruachan hill side, brooding over his vision, and people passing him would see the far-away look in his eyes, and would say one to the other: "The puir laird, he is aye thinking on him that is gone". Only his dearest friends knew the cause of his melancholy.

In 1756 the war between the English and French in America broke out. The 42nd regiment embarked, and landed at New York in June of that year. Campbell of Inverawe was a major in the regiment. The lieut.- colonel was Francis Grant. From New York the 42nd proceeded to Albany, where the regiment remained inactive till the spring of 1757. One evening when the 42nd were still quartered at this place, Inverawe asked the colonel "if he had ever heard of a place called Ticonderoga". {160} Colonel Grant replied he had never heard the name before. Inverawe then told his story. Most of the officers were present at the time; some were impressed, others were inclined to look upon the whole thing as a joke, but seeing how very much disturbed Inverawe was about it all, even the most unbelieving refrained from bantering him.

In 1758 an expedition was to be directed against Ticonderoga, on Lake George, a fort erected by the French. The Highlanders were to form part of this expedition. The force was under Major-General Abercromby.

Ticonderoga was called by the French St. Louis [really "Fort Carillon"], and Inverawe knew it by no other name. One of the officers told Colonel Grant that the Indian name of the place was Ticonderoga. Grant, remembering Campbell's story, said: "For God's sake don't let Campbell know this, or harm will come of it".

The troops embarked on Lake George and landed without opposition near the extremity of the lake early in July. They marched from there, through woods, upon Ticonderoga, having had one successful skirmish with the enemy, driving them back with considerable loss. Lord Howe was killed in this engagement.

On the 10th of July the assault was directed to be commenced by the picquets. {162} The Grenadiers were to follow, supported by the battalions and reserves. The Highlanders and 55th regiment formed the reserve.

In vain the troops attempted to force their way through the abbatis, they themselves being exposed to a heavy artillery and musket fire from an enemy well under cover. The Highlanders could no longer be restrained, and rushed forward from the reserve, cutting and carving their way through trees and other obstacles with their claymores. The deadly fire still continued from the fort. As no ladders had been provided for scaling the breastwork, the soldiers climbed on to one another's shoulders, and made holes for their feet in the face of the work with their swords and bayonets, but as soon as a man reached the top he was thrown down. Captain John Campbell and a few men succeeded at last in forcing their way over the breastworks, but were immediately cut down.