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An Army On Skates

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B&e ïfpïhspts Jkfpt& Diiring thf fitiiintis cxpedition 01 i, huí ; XIV t.h'ts art of ioeoinotion was usad ! againft be Dutch themselvea in o 10 "I the Oftcurious and during exploit re cordeti in history. When t.ho Statos suef) for pcaoe, the terms oifered by tho pride of Lou's were so moiistrous, ihat the people ture opon thir shiices, ci.l luid tbe country under water. The lrost after a time, howoïer, rend rml even tliis Bnavailiog; and atleogth Öeu. ïuxenboürg, one dark ird fr-jizing night, mouiited twclTe tbousand uieriupod skütes, and sent tliorn over tbe ice from Utrecht to eurpriso the llague. - The resuk is given as follovfs by a writer wbo takes brs faets froto a Freoch historian : ' When they loft Utresht, it was elear froFty weather, and the effect of the rooou and utars upon the even sheet of ico, over which they swept like a breeze, was truly m:ij;ioal. ]iv derees as they advauci-d, tho visible horizon of earfch was obscured, by vapor, and they could aeo Dotbing arouüd, above or beneatb tbem, b;it a circular expanse of ice bounded at tbe fdio by tliick gray clouds, and canopied by the sturry ourtain of the sky. The stranj;o groaningsound which ever and non boomed along the frozen wildernes, had at ürst sotnething iuespressibly territic to tbe imagination, and as it died fitfuüy away in the distanc, the spaee surroundiüg seerned extended almost to intiily. The sky at length was gradnally covered by tbe vapor riíibg, as if fiotn the edges of the circ'j of earth ; a veil of dull and hazy white overspread the heaveus and obsenred tbe stars; and a dim round spot of witery briijhtness was the only indication of the site of the moon by which alone thev could now steer their conrse. A rapid thaw had come on ; their skates Bunk deeper and deeper into tha ice at every sweep; and at last, the water gathering upon the surface, as it was agitated by theniííht wind that had now risen, assumed the appearance of a sea The wind nereased tlie sky grew blacker nd blacker; their footiug becauae inore spotigy and nseeure ; they plunged almost to the knee ; aud the ice groaned and cracked beneath thein. Every one looked upon himself as lost; and the horrors of a late hitherto uotold 'm story, and appearing to belong neither to the iortunes ot tne laiiu nor ot tne sea, appallod the boldest irnagination. 1 At length a fa int, twinkling Hght appeared in the distance, someümes seen and sometimes lost in the varying atmosphere; and they had tlie satisfaction, such as it was, of at least knowing the relativa hearings of the place on which tlitiy were about to perish. The light proceeded from a Btron fort in the enerny's hands, impregDable without eannon; and what added bitterness lo their jnisery was the knowlodge that boyond this fort was a dyko, which in all probability afforded a path, however narrow and tnuddy, by whieh they could have Teturued to Utrecht. The fort, however, was a gate to this avenue of safety; and if they bad possessed the requisite means of siege if it was defended for a single day, they would either be swallowed up by the water, in the contin uance of the tbaw, or perish raiserably through cold and fatigu, Butanything was better than inaction. The water creeping insidious'y around them was a deadlier enemy than stone walls or can non shot ; and' they determiaed at leas to make a rush upon the immovable masonry of the fort, and provoke the fire of its defendéis,. It is impossible to account for the result It may have been that the sight of so large a body o men rushing in upon them, a3 if from the open sea, their numbor multiplied and even their individual forms distorted and magnified in the mist, struck a pamo terror into the hearts of the garrison; ■while tbis may have been inereased by the shout8 of courage or despair, boom ing widely over the icy waste, and mingling like voices of demons with tho rising wind. But however this was, the gates of the fort opeDed at their approach, and the hapless and halffrozeu adventurersrushed in without striking a blow.


Old News
Michigan Argus