Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A Canadian Hero

This is Bekah's newspaper article on Madeline de Verches she wrote for her on-line Brave Writer's Mini Reports class.  Enjoy!

Breaking News! Girl escapes Iroquois ambush!

Sieur De Verches’ 14 year old daughter, Marie Madeline, had just finished holding off a nine day Iroquois ambush on her family’s fort, Fort Verches.  Shortly after, I had the privilege of interviewing her and getting a full account of what happened during this harrowing siege.

Madeline was working outside the fort when she suddenly heard rifle shots and the cries of men and women falling around her.  One of the servants cried, “Fly, mademoiselle, the Iroquois are upon us!” Hardly knowing what to do, she ran towards the fort.

Francois Verches, his wife and the smallest children were away, leaving their 14 year old daughter, Madeline and her two younger brothers, 12 year old Louis and 10 year old Alexandre to tend their family home, Fort Verches.  The fort’s remaining inhabitants consisted of a few men and a few women.

Madeline was inches away from safety when one of the fastest Iroquois warriors caught hold of her shawl.  It flew off her shoulders and into the hands of the warrior before she could reach the safety of the fort.  When she did reach the gate, she yelled, “To arms! To arms!” trying desperately to get the attention of the only two remaining soldiers guarding the fort.  Silence was her only answer, for when she got inside, she found only two women mourning their husbands’ recent deaths outside. Addressing them she said, “Go inside the blockhouse and bring any other women and children you find with you.” When she went to look for the guards she found one hiding and the other holding a lighted fuse. “What are you doing with that fuse?” she shrieked. “I am going to blow up the fort so the enemy cannot capture us,” he stammered. “Miserable wretch!” she roared, “Be gone. I command you!”

She donned an old hat and cape of her father’s and grabbed a gun.  Seeing her two brothers and their faithful servant, Laviolette, a man of 80, she exclaimed, “Let us fight to the death for our country!” She handed out guns and then, leaving them to their business, peered through a peephole spotting a canoe with their neighbors, the Fontaines, in it. “The Iroquois will see it for sure!” she fretted.

Boldly dashing through the gate and reaching the canoe, she patiently waited by its side until every last Fontaine was out. The small party attempted to walk slowly and bravely toward the gate, but it’s not easy to walk confidently with enemies all around and so, on the last stretch to the gate, they all ran towards the safety of the fort.  Once inside, Madeline told the family to go to the blockhouse with all the other women and children. She then gave Monsieur Fontaine instructions to guard the blockhouse along with the fort’s two feeble soldiers and to stay at his post regardless of what happened.

Madeline, her brothers and their servant, Laviolette, kept the fort safe from the invasive Iroquois for nine days and eight nights. They took only short breaks between shifts until M. De Callieres, Governor of Montreal, sent Lieutenant La Monerie and his forty men to their aid. Seeing all the soldiers who had come to help Fort Verches, the Iroquois put up little resistance and were driven away quickly.
At the end of our interview, I asked Madeline, “Weren’t you afraid you would fail and be captured?” Without hesitating she answered, “I felt then that when God rules over things there is no danger of failure.” What a story Madeline and her brothers must have told when their parents and the rest of their family got home!

1 comment:

  1. Bekah this is a very well written and exciting account of Marie's adventure. You have a very strong voice, and use some excellent descriptive words to create pace and atmosphere! Well done Bekah!